a) There is a lot of potential in getting a decent Statistics background. Actuaries are in great demand. Teach your self some basic statistics using Excel formulas. There are some really powerful stats software that are free like R (http://www.r-project.org/). Additionally if you know a Geographic Information System like GRASS thats fantastic. Imagine data like from Facebook, overlaid on a GIS systems. Every marketers dream.
b) Just as much as companies look up your Facebook page (or LinkedIn profile) think of potentially using this data for a Matchmaking service or say to check out potential groom or bride. You will get a complete run down on the probabilities of being gay, abuse drugs having a decent IQ etc. You get similar info from DNA too. See what my DNA predicted.
Facebook reveals secrets you haven’t sharedThe increasing amount of personal information that can be gleaned by computer programs that track how people use Facebook has been revealed by an extensive academic study.
Such programs can discern undisclosed private information such as Facebook users’ sexuality, drug-use habits and even whether their parents separated when they were young, according to the study by the University of Cambridge academics.
Microsoft-funded research centre analysed data from 58,000 Facebook users to predict traits and other information that were not provided in their profiles.
The algorithms were 88 per cent accurate in predicting male sexual orientation, 95 per cent for race and 80 per cent for religion and political leanings. Personality types and emotional stability were also predicted with accuracy ranging from 62-75 per cent.
that the university’s techniques could easily be replicated by companies to infer personal attributes a person did not wish to share, such as sexual orientation or political views: “We used very simple and generic methods. Marketing companies and internet companies could spend much more time and resources, and hence get much higher accuracy than we did.”The report also revealed some unexpected correlations – such as people who liked ‘curly fries’ having higher IQs, while those who like Facebook’s “Sliding on Floors With Your Socks On” page were unlikely to use drugs.
Complete article at FT