The big data play with your brain (and pay your taxes)

The big data highlight information that the human brain is unable to identify. But how are its information used in consumer influence our behavior?

“A human being takes thousands of decisions a day, most without thinking practically. With big data, governments and private companies have been anathema instruments to influence human decisions to the individual level.” The question is to what extent we will allow them? “asks Steven Der Blieck, ambassador and data scientist at Hifluence.

And insist that a small percentage of decisions taken daily by an individual are thoughts. We reflect on our clothes, our food or TV programs we watch. “But most of our choices are made on autopilot Take this simple addition. 3 + 4. The number 7 has certainly come directly to mind yet we did not have to calculate your brain works instinctively.. without asking your permission. This automatic mode of thinking based on some empirical or heuristic rules to take direct and easy decisions. The majority of a group you belong to is it a choice? There is a good chance that you follow this choice, “added De Blieck. A process that is also online. “If you displayed that most people around you bought a computer, it is likely that you will do the same. From an evolutionary perspective, these rules are essential to the survival of individual Suppose you’re a primitive man. if you suddenly see someone run away, it is probably reasonable to do the same Maybe a carnivore he approach Often these automatic decisions.? are good for us. ”

Evolutionnissme against big data

But what if this theory is associated with big data from customer behavior? “With the data we have today, the way opens before companies and organizations to influence us unconsciously. If you surf for example on the site of a computer manufacturer, your location will often known. in this way, the manufacturer can easily recommend you the best-selling computer in your area. But what if this web site states that the best-selling computer is also the most expensive, while this is not reality not? ”

Such situations occur already today, according to Blieck. Companies think of tricks to get you to buy faster. He cited the example of the reservation site for a hotel that has only one room available. “This can certainly happen, but the likelihood that thousands of rooms available on the website are all occupied is very small but it works. We want what we can not have and we will be sure that room Our fashion. automatic thought overstates the few things. ”

Our data scientist believes that the amount of information processed will only increase, so it will be difficult to store and process all before making decisions. “We will rely increasingly on these empirical rules. At the same time, companies have still more personal information on their customers.”

However, these principles can also be applied positively, according to De Blieck. “Suppose you are an energy supplier and you to collect consumption data from your customers. You know that a client we’ll call Jean consumes more than its neighbors. You also know that the automatic thought Jean mode implies that he wishes his behavior is consistent with his fellows. Why not send a single email to provide its energy consumption compared to its neighbors? studies show that the probability is high that it will then seek to save energy. This is a good thing for him, because he will pay less. But also good for the provider whose network is less loaded and so reduce the risk of overload. Not to mention that it will benefit some the environment. a single person who reduced its energy consumption does not really help the planet, but if hundreds of thousands of people do the same. ”

Paid faster

The British government is the perfect illustration of this practical reasoning. “The government is now advised by the Behavioural Insight Team, a group of scientists that examines the implementation of the behavioral sciences in public policy.” Thus they managed to reduce by 15% the number of taxpayers in arrears by giving them the number of people who had already paid their taxes in their neighborhood. Citizens and pay lower fines, but the administration also benefits. “The larger the volume of personal data, the higher the behavioral nudges, after all these behavioral incentives, are personalized and effective.”

De Blieck emphasizes the obligation for companies to make an ethical choice. “Will they use this data to ensure that the customer and the company benefit in? Or do they seek only profit? In the short term, the latter approach may be preferred. But clients who feel manipulated will be less likely to come back. Only businesses that will create a win-win situation when using their customer data will reap the benefits. Just as in nature, cooperation is essential to the long-term survival. companies have today data which they could only dream of 10 years ago. information is power. Even if, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. “

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