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Five Intuitive Predictions About Analytics


David Wagner
David Wagner, Community Editor

A2 is quite rightly focused on the present and the near future. But sometimes to make sure you don’t get bogged down too much in the present, you want to look ahead to get a sense of where you are going. So I decided to take some time to think of what analytics might look like at least five years out.

At first, I searched high and low for statistical trends and wanted to do my best at using analytics to predict the future of analytics. Then, part way through, I decided it would be much more fun to do what most of the A2 community is used to — I’d ignore all the great data just like your internal customers and instead use my intuition.

I’ve been covering technology and analytics for over a decade. I’ve seen trends come and go and I’ve seen the hype cycle first hand. If I can’t put my finger in the air and tell which way the wind is blowing, what good am I? So here we go. I’m making five predictions for state of analytics into the future.

In five years, inside the enterprise, analytics is just going to be called “management.” The drive for “data-driven management” and “data-driven organizations” is going to be so successful that we are going to stop talking about analytics as a separate discipline. Managers won’t ask what the BI or analytics said to make a decision. It will be ingrained in the process. Does that mean A2 is in for a name change? No, because there is still going to be a discipline for those that prepare the numbers. They are just going to fade into the background. I think the job of data scientist is much like “webmaster” was in the 90’s. We’re going to have less grandiose names while doing more work.

I’ve seen this already with “big data.” Just two years ago, CIOs would say to me “I need to invest in big data.” Now they say, “we’re investing in a new database to track customer data.” When the language around a thing changes from the hype word to the specific, it means it is part of the norm.

In five to 10 years (OK, maybe 20), personalized medicine will lead to diagnosing cancer with analytics. Multiple big data programs around cancer including the Wisdom study and the Precision Medicine Initiative are going to start leading to clues on how we can identify cancer earlier, based on things like your search terms, Facebook status, and fitness tracker data, rather than blood tests and mammograms. The clues will come in terms of early warning signs that we often ignore now as just feeling under the weather. Data will be able to combine genetic pre-disposition, health history, and our own data from daily life to see things before we see them ourselves. Of course, we’ll still need to take the test to confirm, but it will be the analytics that inspires us to the get the test.

In the next 10 years, a major sports franchise will hire a computer to be an in-game manager or general manager. Of course, a human will still have to do the interactive part like trade negotiations or telling a player they are being substituted. But someone will decide to trust in the analytics engine to be better than a human at making decisions like removing pitchers or punting versus “going for it” or for drafting players.

In 10 years, Hollywood will be routinely re-writing and re-shooting movie scripts based on biometric analysis of preview crowds. We’re already starting to track the data. It is only a matter of time until some fool thinks he can write a blockbuster using the data, and he’ll probably be right.

Driverless cars and trucks will nice, but it is the unimaginable amount of data from driverless cars and trucks that will allow us to finally live our “Jetsons-style” future we’ve been waiting for. Traffic flow through cities, combined with the more moderate data from personal fitness trackers and phones, will allow us to redesign city infrastructure like roads, water, WiFi, sewage, garbage, and everything else. Without the driverless car data, cities will look basically as they did in the 1980’s forever.

Which of my predictions look like they will happen and which make you think my crystal ball is broken? Tell me in the comments.

Source: http://www.allanalytics.com/author.asp?section_id=3618&doc_id=280191&print=yes

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