Google Flu Trends (GFT) was once held-up as the prototypical example of the power of big data. By leveraging search term data – apparently worthless “data exhaust” – a group of Data Scientists with little relevant expertise were able to predict the spread of flu across the continental United States. In near real-time. At a marginal cost. And more accurately than the “experts” at the Centre for Disease Control with their models built from expensive survey data, available only after the fact.1!
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