Could Your Car Become A Great Data Miner, and Discovery New Frontiers of Data?
In the future, you car could be gossiping about all the other cars (and people) that it comes in contact with, and using this to build new maps of our interactions.
Things are changing. We are currently being data mined for every search we make to Google, and where a whole bank of companies are waiting to deliver customized content to us based on our searches. For example, I searched for “Which is the best toothbrush?”, and I received this when I went to Sky News:
This model of cross-fertilisation of information across domains breaks the isolated model of the information, and allows Google to mine information from their free service, and then sell it on to advertisers. We, hope, we trust Google to look after our data, but many companies want to be in Google’s position, and search history is only a small part of revealing our lives, the most information you can gain is what we do when we are away from a browser.
At the current time, it is Apple and Google who are in the privileged position of knowing where you are and where you have been, but they will struggle to jump out of the data gathered on their phones, as users require high trust levels from their devices. So enter the car manufacturers …
The car opens the world up to be mined
By 2025, 60% of all the cars on the road will have Internet connectivity, and where services in the Cloud will be monitoring things like location, the local environment, and even your driving speed. The opportunities for data mining are almost endless, especially as your drive to work has, possibly, been the only time that you have not been spied upon (apart from Apple and Google, who will track your route to work). But the time you spend in the car, and all the interactions that you have made with other car drivers are largely un-mined territory.
So for car companies, and Cloud and Internet Service Provides, the car provides a new opening in data capture and services, with intelligent cars providing the opportunity to reduce accidents and where cars can intercommunicate with each other:
But the great opportunity for data miners is to know your journeys, what you listen to on the radio (it may well be Spotify, of course), whom you travel with, the interactions that your car makes with others on the road, where you live and where you work. In an instance, companies and governments will be able to map their cities and locate most of their citizens and where they live and the car they drive.
If we also include autonomous vehicle, we will see a massive surge in the mining of data, and where each device becomes a localised station for collecting data on the ground. “What’s the weather like at 10 Sauchiehall Street?”, and the autonomous vehicle could feed real-time information. With this, though, the amount of bandwidth that will be required for our transport network will be massive:
Mapping our world
The mapping is likely to happen on two levels. The first is to track the car and its interactions with other cars and devices along the way, and then also to map the interactions between individuals. With Bluetooth beacons, companies can determine whom you interact with. As with Bluetooth can span 10s of metres the beacons can determine each person (and car) that you have passed on the route. Many companies know the advantage of this mapping, as they can determine who your network of contracts are. LinkedIn recently asked users if they wanted to pass and collect information from other devices you are in contact with:
Users were not given the opportunity to see what data was gathered, and there was no information given on the reason why LinkedIn wanted to do this.
The mapping is a dream for advertisers, and for the first time, they will actually see where we travel and how we live our lives. For them, they could know exactly how often you change your car, what type of car you like, how often you move home, which school your kids go to, where you shop, and so many things about our lives.
Some could say that whoever can get access to this information, and provide you with services which you find useful, will become the new Google, as information gathered on your Web search history is one thing, but when it is gathered from your life, we have the greatest goldmine of data ever created. It merges so many existing data sets. If we then track into the transport network, we see exactly the dynamics of how a country works.
Governments and your data
For governments it will be a treasure trove of data, and where a government could spy on the lives of virtually every citizen. Someone from the HMRC might say, “Oh. I see you went to Liverpool to see Fred Smith, and that you met in a coffee bar in the city centre. Did you do some work for him?”.
And why would a government need to run a census anymore, as they could find out exactly where people lived, worked, and whom they lived with? For law enforcement we would have a perfect trail of evidence before and after a crime, and where suspects could be tracked through their interactions with their car.
Marketing and advertising
The current method of knowing what you like is to track your Web pages and searches, but the information gathered is often not useful, and we can often see when we are being targeted with “fake” news stories that trick us to click on them, and where we find it’s selling a product.
What advertisers want to know is where we shop and our route there, and whether their campaigns are working at a micro and a macro level. If Sainsbury’s knew that customers who liked ice cream went to Asda on a Saturday morning, they could focus their efforts targeting those individuals (perhaps with an advertisement on the road, or through Spotify as they traveled). The marketing department could then see if their intervention has worked.
If you think you are being spied on now, wait till smart cars come along, and they will take things to the next level, and where the spying will happen without you even touching a keyboard. The data is just too useful not to be used, and it is the dream of every marketing person, and of every government, and of …
Our Brave New World … or Big Brother … will have arrived! You will never have to fill-out another form again, as your forms will be filled-in for you.