Do you know Doppelgaenger

How well do you know your digital doppelganger?

Comment by Walter Braun

Can anyone remember Steven Spielberg's exciting film "Minority Report"? Came in theaters exactly ten years ago and portrayed the world in 2054, where the police use psychic media to try to prevent crimes before they are committed. An interesting topic, because in the background there is the philosophical question of whether our actions are predetermined or whether we - at least in the moral sphere - have free will.

The current US TV series “Person of Interest” has taken up the same topic, albeit more primitive. It is set in the present, and predictions of human behavior are no longer made by clairvoyants, but by a machine - a supercomputer that docks with all databases, taps ubiquitous cameras and routinely tapped phone calls and evaluates them for complex parameters. Unlikely? Not for big data fans. There is a rapidly growing field of research called “Predictive Analytics”, which is predictive analyzes from existing data patterns plus speculative estimates based on mathematical models. The marketing industry is also involved via “Predictive Consumer Analytics”.

Of course, everything is much more harmless than the cinematic future scenarios. The fact is, however, that a parallel world is created here that tries nothing less than to map the real world in data. And that includes our behavior. A seemingly absurd undertaking if it had not been shown in many psychological studies that human reactions are often predictable (see also reading tip below).
In the USA, an online rating system has been quietly introduced with "e-scores", which determines the financial potential of each consumer from available online transactions, including previously unusual ratings such as income and the value of home ownership and expenses for Flow in luxury products. Goal: To predict our planned purchase wishes before we are even aware of them.

As a marketer, I would of course like to reserve price promotions only to those interested parties who I can assume will become profitable customers and not loss makers. This is exactly how the US company TruSignal (subsidiary of the data giant eBureau) proceeds when it suggests to advertisers which prospective customer names they should buy or advertise. This can have massive consequences: If you are unlucky enough to have a low “e-score”, you will probably not receive a loan; instead possibly obscene offers from loan sharks. And have no idea what is happening to him. Welcome to the digital class society ...

Reading tip: If you want to get up to date with the latest knowledge about human behavior with all its predictable weaknesses, you should study what I think is the most important psychology book ever written, namely "Fast thinking, slow thinking" by Daniel Kahneman (Siedler Verlag) .

[Walter Braun]