4. Improving Public Service

As documented in the last few chapters, data provide tremendous opportunity for businesses and organizations such as political campaigns. Increased marketing efficiency through more precise targeting has turned the Internet into a veritable paradise for marketers who can turn the digital footprints that consumers leave scattered across the Web into a cogent description of an individual’s intent. This playground likely contributed to Hal Varian, chief economist at Google and emeritus professor at UC-Berkley to proclaim that “the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians.”1

With data being readily available, Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT noted “the big problem is going to be the ability of humans to use, analyze ...

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