Why big business and the NSA sift through your data patterns

The world is swimming in data, far too much for any pair of eyeballs to read in a lifetime, or any group of people to analyse unaided.
A new batch of data companies has sprung up to treat this problem as an opportunity by using ‘pattern-of-life’ analysis, promising to spot useful behaviour to prevent terrorist threats, to make money on the financial markets or simply help supermarkets save money by wasting less food.
Crucial advances have been made in the way data is analysed and understood, and – thanks to complex maths – is increasingly moving away from the simple use of past events and templates to predict future patterns.

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