Ms. Cleo’s Been Replaced by Big Data, From Cradle to Grave

Remember flipping on the TV and hearing “call me now for your free reading” in a thick, island accent?  Ms. Cleo was all the rage in the 90′s. Even if some of us wrote her off as a phony and laughed at her crazy one-liners, some of us also took her predictions to heart because we wanted to know our fates in the future.

Although the days of Ms Cleo are long gone, wanting to know what the future holds is still a burning desire we all naturally want settled. And with big data constantly evolving, we now have access to information about our lives and our future that we didn’t have access to in the past.  We can now find out when we will die, what diseases we carry and whether or not they pose a threat to our health, and even who we will date and potentially marry.  Big data has taken the place of calling random tarot card TV personalities to share our sealed fate.

Here’s a look at how big data is being used to predict the way our lives will pan out from the cradle to the grave.

Pregnancy

Once upon a time in the 90′s, the Internet was accessed through unplugging the phone and a computerized voice welcomed you with “You’ve got mail.” This was back when the Internet was used for chatrooms and instant messaging, and online shopping was slowly on the rise. Over ten years ago, if you were to tell someone that a store was able to tell a man his daughter was pregnant based on the items that were bought at one time at the store, he would think you lost your marbles. But now big data can not only tell if there’s a little one cooking in the oven, it can also recommend the best items for the baby. At least, that’s what Target did for a young teen mother, and her father found out via online store recommendations that he was going to be a grandpa.

Employment 

Growing up, we are taught to do well in school so we can get a good job and support a family—live the American Dream. But what if we pick the wrong career path? What if we don’t know if the job we chose will even work out? Not to fear, big data knows us better than we know ourselves, as creepy as it may sound.

Evolv has partnered up with the Wharton School of Business to develop a way for job-seekers to find jobs that best suit their needs, based on talent and skill level.

“It’s hard to understand why it’s radically predictive, but it’s radically predictive,” Evolv’s co-founder Jim Meyerle said.

Evolv will keep people from bouncing around from job to job and match them with the job that best caters to their needs and talents.

Dating 

Dating sites like OKCupid and match.com make dating a lot easier. No more awkward conversations and small talk about the weather to fill up the long, pregnant pauses. Big data is used to match people together based on their likes and interests and even what character traits they will under no circumstances tolerate.

Death

Not only are you able to find your soulmate, you can also find out the very moment your life will come to an end thanks to San Francisco-based healthcare company Archimeds Model. 

With big data’s ability to predict all the important milestones in our lives, it’s only natural to ask: is big brother just a fictional concept in a novel, or is he really watching?  More importantly, what will this data and its predictions be used for in the future?  These are important questions to ask as data is put to work for predictive analytics, helping us make life-altering decisions from the cradle to the grave.