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Big in Data

18 / 08 / 2016

Big in Data

Vivianne Bendermacher, better known as Techionista, spots all the trends in the field of innovation and technology. She makes regular appearances as a tech expert for RTL Boulevard and Lindanieuws.nl among others, and on 4 October she will be seen and heard live on SAS Forum Nederland. In this guest blog, she talks about her love for (big) data.

Car in Night Traffic

Everyone's talking about it these days: big data. Whether you work in a large media company, for an insurance company or for the local baker: big data is a hot topic everywhere. And quite rightly, because data is gold. At least… if data is placed in context. Because then you can draw conclusions that you act upon. You can become smarter, better and more profitable. Fantastic!

Higher premium because of black car

But not for everyone… It's bad news for me, for example. Since this year, I've been driving a black MINI Cooper. And people with a black car lose out with certain insurance companies. According to a study by the Belgian Consumers' Association, I pay a 9 per cent higher premium for my black ride than someone with a white car. And why do I pay more? Because the figures show that black cars are involved in more accidents. At least I'm fortunate enough not to drive a Honda, because then chances are I would have one accident after another. Shame for the insurance company, lucky for me.

But the good news, for me and for the insurance company, is that I'm something of an addict. No, not to all sorts of intoxicating substances; I am addicted to data. I track my sleep, my steps, what I eat, my weight, my girth (since I got pregnant), my heart rate, the CO2 levels in my house, my fat percentage, my BMI, the books I have read, how I spend my time and my location. And that is generally good for my health. Not because I'm a real health freak, but because I love nice charts and am quite competitive by nature. If my exercise graph dips, my honour is at stake. So I'm increasingly leaving my little black car at home and taking the bus. Because public transport means more steps and that means nicer charts. An upward line in my weight was troubling until recently, and is now completely as (happily) expected.

Vivianne in a chart

Yes, data: I love it. So much so that I wanted to take it a step further. Could I plot a chart of myself as a person? Can a chart be created that 100 per cent sums up Vivianne? Yes, of course it’s possible. I had my genome sequenced. A few years ago I spit into a tube, sent it off to America, and 'I' came back in neat summary. It seems I'm 2.4 per cent Ashkenazi (i.e. Jewish), 6.3 per cent Asian and, despite my rather German-sounding surname, there is clearly a Brit in me (16.8 per cent). And… a nice additional outcome of this exercise: I am blessed with the muscles of a sprinter. If I were to try my chances on the athletics track, there is a chance that there's a Dafne Schippers in me. I smell opportunities. But don't tell my insurance company, or my premium will shoot up again. After all, runners are heading to a dead end.

 

Vivianne Bendermacher
At SAS Forum in The Netherlands, Vivianne explains the latest developments in the field of science and technology, including during a special breakfast session with our data expert Jos van Dongen.
Check here for more information and to register for SAS Forum.

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