Data is the new oil. Nothing revolutionary here, but it's good to see this point being made in a general medium.
What "the big five" are selling — or not selling, as in the case of free services like Google or Facebook — is access. As we use their platforms, the corporate giants are collecting information about every aspect of our lives, our behaviour and our decision-making. All of that data gives them tremendous power. And that power begets more power, and more profit.
Brendan O’Connor, an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and one of his graduate students, Su Lin Blodgett, looked at the use of language on Twitter. Using demographic filtering, the researchers collected 59.2 million tweets with a high probability of containing African-American slang or vernacular. They then tested several natural-language processing tools on this data set to see how they would treat these statements. They found that one popular tool classified these posts as Danish with a high level of confidence.
Researchers at the e-commerce juggernaut are currently working on several machine-learning systems that could help provide an edge when it comes to spotting, reacting to, and perhaps even shaping the latest fashion trends. The effort points to ways in which Amazon and other companies could try to improve the tracking of trends in other areas of retail—making recommendations based on products popping up in social-media posts, for instance. And it could help the company expand its clothing business or even dominate the area.
Data Links is a periodic blog post published on Sundays (specific time may vary) which contains interesting links about data science, machine learning and related topics. You can subscribe to it using the general blog RSS feed or this one, which only contains these articles, if you are not interested in other things I might publish.
Have you read an article you liked and would you like to suggest it for the next issue? Just contact me!