It is well known now that Barak Obama was able to win a second term thanks to the Big Data, the collection and automated processing of huge amounts of data.
These methods, which have already been widely used in the world of economics and finance, are now used for election campaigns. But politicians such as Barack Obama have mainly used data coming from social networks and particularly Facebook.
Donald Trump, who is we no doubt, a brilliant businessman knew how to surround himself with the right people to manage his presidential campaign, and did not hesitate to hire Matt Braynard, president of the Braynard Group and former advisor to Barack Obama.
While the other candidates, both in the primaries and in the presidential election, simply mobilized their electorate based on voting habits, the brilliant Braynard, concentrated on convincing the silent majority to move to vote. He was convinced that it would be by increasing the number of voters that victory would be assured.
And we saw the result!
The Braynard team has undertaken to construct a deep psychological profile to identify voters « deprived of rights », « rich in the wisdom of the Old Testament » and with « a very unnuanced view of the world ». Whatever that may mean in the United States!
Braynard thought, no doubt rightly, that these profiles would be realistically aligned with Trump’s own views on the erosion of national security in the United States.
A computational, sociological, geographical and statistical analysis of these voters allowed groups to be divided up and to know, for example, what arguments would encourage unmarried women, or young people, or even Hispanics, to mobilize. It made it possible to target advertisements, phone calls and calls for donations.
On election day, in real time from its New York headquarters, the campaign managers could see, in the neighborhood level, where people were going to vote and where it was more difficult to concentrate their volunteers and mobilize voters. Hillary Clinton’s campaign could not compete with such an organization and was faced with a defeat, much stronger than the tight ballot announced by the national polls, based on the assumption of a less mobilized electorate.
We can logically and without risk of error, say that Donald Trump’s campaign, at least in a large part, was won thanks to Big Data.
Statistical analysis and Data Science algorithms can find correlations and relationships that were previously unavailable.
But the Big Data is at first a phenomenon that forces us to completely rethink the organization of the economy. Companies need to use it to better define the ideal price for a product or which market to target first, etc.
Marketing is not the only area affected by the Big Data revolution. Distribution and logistics are also affected. The Big Data allows defining the best way to bring the right product to the right place at the right time and thus gain the precious micro-margin points that enable a company to beat its competitors.
And now this the time of the politics to make a good use of the Big Data: it is certain that the political professionals around the world will be inspired by what the Donald Trump team did this week.
Many of the most important problems to solve are data processing problems: how to run an energy network to avoid wasting energy; How to organize traffic in a city; How to move products from one
Big Data does not replace the need for decision-making, but it is a phenomenal aid to decision making and potentially a productivity revolution like the two previous era of computing.
This week, the Big Data may have changed the course of history by choosing the identity of the President of the United States. And it’s just beginning.
But the real question remains:
It is clear that the new American administration has skillfully used the new technologies to achieve its goal: success!
By deploying a strategy based on data processing, the American administration will have a real awareness of its subsistence and thus invest to finance research in these same new technologies such as Quantum Computing, Learning Machine, etc. ?
Will this investment allow the United States to be once again a great country and to draw in its wake a Europe that more than ever is lagging behind?
Let’s hope that the use that will be made of these new technologies will make this world a better world and give back computer scientist the letters of nobility that it deserves.
Written by Dario Mangano.
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