Dialogue with Numbers and Real Life

GN Talks 4/12/2016 Istanbul, Translated from my Original Talk on `Dialogue with Numbers`

When we look at the last years, we see that technology is a big part of our lives. Some of us start the day with the alarm clock that we set the previous night from our smart phone, some of us have smart bracelets that we don`t move from our wrists ; we check how much we slept, our heart beats, how many km we ran already and so on. Some of us activate GPS directly before we go to meetings by car. Almost all of us check our emails on our phone, and whatsapp and facebook are applications that we follow constantly.

We spend the whole day looking at our laptop or desktop at work. At nights, we watch movies on our tablets, or we download the movies to our computer and watch them on the TV screen, which we connect to our computer.

And so on, and so on…

This is not only the case in Turkey, or in any other specific place. The whole world wakes up with technology, goes to sleep with technology, and spends the whole day with technology.

During my simulation, I asked the audience the following questions and I saw 100% yes to answers:

  • Do you use internet in your daily life ?
  • Do you have a cell phone?
  • Do you have a smart phone?
  • Do you have an account/profile in Social Media?

I would like to share with you the research results of Statistic Foundation of Turkey, 2016.

  • The rate of people who use internet is 61.2%

54.9% of people between the age of 16-74 use computer, 61.2% use internet. The rate of men to women is : 64.1% : 70.5%, 45.9% : 51.9%

  • 96.9% of all households have a cell phone

96.9% household had cell phone or smart phone, 25.6% has line phone

In the same time, 22.9% of households have desktop computer, 36.4% portable computer, 29.6% have tablets

  • Social Media is the top thing while checking the reasons of using internet

While checking the results, it is seen that 82.4% of people who use internet created a profile in social media, sent messages or pictures, 74.5% watched videos, 69.5% online news, 65.9% search on health issues, 63.7% listening music through internet.

The simulation I did with the audience was an example for a survey that we are used to having from past to now;` We asked to 100 people and got these results `

Today, we have gone further than this, and it is our future`s technology : Big Data, Machine Learning, Data Mining; I would like to talk about this with you.

While it is mostly being used for marketing researches, it will have a big effect on us and will change our lives.

What is Big Data ?

Big data is something that can be had with time, processed or not processed, meaning that data which is not used, processed by traditional way or tools.

What does it mean?

I would like to share with you a description which I found in one of the forums on the internet, it may sound funny but it is real :

What is Big Data or not? What to do with it? Who can benefit from it?

Your age, marital status, number of your kids, home address, how fast you drive to go shopping, when you moved from your last apartment and to where, which credit cards you are holding, which websites you are following, your professional background, which books and magazines do you read, if you divorced in past or not, the year you bought or sold your house, where did you study, which topics do you chat in internet, content of the things that you share in social media, your political view, if you volunteer or not, if you own a car, which brand it is, where you shop and so on…

Big companies love the info about us and they collect all the data about us. First of all, in the world there are 2 billion people who are connected to the internet. According to Gartner until 2020, 26 billion devices will be connected to the internet. This means 2 billion people are producing Big Data and it will be more and more…

How do we get Big Data ?

Our devices are connected to the internet and in this way we pass info and data. As I mentioned in the beginning, these devices can be anything like : Desktop , Laptop, Mobile, Smart phones, IoT, GPS, smart bracelet and so on…All the data is collected into a database and in this way we have Big Data. Governments, companies, hospitals, they all collect all this info and analyze it for different reasons.

We used to conduct surveys and draw conclusions from relatively small samples of society. Now, with Big Data, we have a lot more to draw from, and get a much wider angle.

If I can give a concrete example: When we go shopping, our phones are connected to wifi/ 3g, even info such as which shelves we just walked by is being saved as info. Then when we leave the shop, we’ll receive a message about a campaign promoting the products we were interested. We may think of these messages as a coincidence, but believe me, it is not a coincidence anymore.

Or while we surf the internet, suddenly we notice, in the right or left columns, commercials on products that we had searched on the net in the past, or other things we were interested in. Believe me, it is not a coincidence anymore…

All this info is collected and used for various reasons: sometimes for marketing, sometimes for other reasons and fields. Knowingly, or not, we are sharing info about ourselves with many others; sometimes we see the benefit, sometimes we could suffer damage from this.

Since technology came into our lives, we are using it all the time, in all sorts of ways, in order to be updated; sometimes it creates addictions and we find ourselves spending our time only with technology. We are at risk of losing our values and may even default to conduct our relationships virtually. We already have an intense life because of work or home, and yet, we still choose to spend the little amount of time we have left for ourselves… on technological devices!

I would like to share something personal with you, on how I divide my time between technology and technology-free moments. In the last 10 years, I have focused my professional Life on Technology and Business. It has been super intensive and never just a 9 hours work day.

But the rest of the time I have I try to be involved with volunteering activities such as: Volunteering as a Medical Clown in Hospitals, Mentoring New Immigrants in order to help them in their transition in a new country and making them feel more at home, Mentoring people who need a change in their life ; career wise or other, helping people to connect to relevant people for their needs since I have a big network WW, especially in the Jewish World, and so on…

As you can notice, these are all activities in which I meet people, face to face, no technology to hide behind. And, I only see the positive side of this; I am more motivated in my daily life, I have more to give, I meet new people from different circles and build relationships with them, grow my network, and then I can connect them in the future to help others and more.

I’d like to share with you a recent United Health Group Study that showed how those who volunteered experienced a variety of health benefits:

About a quarter of the people who have volunteered in the past 12 months say that volunteering has helped them to manage a chronic illness.

  • 76% of people who volunteered in the last twelve months say that volunteering has made them feel healthier.
  • 94% of people who volunteered in the last twelve months say that volunteering improves their mood.
  • 78% of people who volunteered in the last 12 months say that volunteering lowers their stress levels.
  • 80% of the people who have volunteered in the past 12 months say that they feel they have control over their health.

Coming back to our first topic, the place of technology in our lives: well, now and even more so in the future, technology is an inseparable part of our lives. My only advice is to keep our values, without expecting anything in return, keep helping others – you’ll only see the benefits of it!

Thank you

About the Author
Rina Barbut, made aliyah from Turkey in 2008. In Israel, she’s been working in business and technology related positions at global companies and completed an International MBA. For years she led Jewish educational and social activities in Turkey and Europe. Rina is currently developing JConnect Forum, a network for young Jewish professionals from Israel and Europe to nurture business cooperation.
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