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12:23 PM  October 9, 2021

Left footmarks: TSU scientist about big data and digital footprint

© предоставлено пресс-службой ТГУLeft footmarks: TSU scientist about big data and digital footprint

TOMSK, Oct 9 – RIA Tomsk. To issue a list of suitable professions, to identify the most popular graduate on Wikipedia, to distinguish extrovert from introvert - this can be done using big data. What big data is and where they are in ordinary life – head of the TSU educational and scientific laboratory of computer learning tools at TSU Artyom Feschenko told. 

He had a lecture on the TSU Youtube channel as part of the NAUKA 0+ festival. Theses of the lecture - in the review of RIA Tomsk.

Earlier it was reported that the festival takes place in Tomsk from October 4 to 8. Its program includes about 70 events - lectures from Tomsk scientists, podcasts about science, excursions to scientific laboratories, scientific shows, quests, competitions and creative workshops.

What is big data?

"Big data is when data are more than one terabyte, this is data that does not fit in Excel, data that cannot be processed on the one computer. There is an opinion that big data is generally any data, and also that big data does not exist at all - they say, this term was invented by marketers," Feschenko says.

© с сайта Томского госуниверситета
Head of the Laboratory Artyom Feschenko
There are a lot of definitions of this phenomenon, and they all depend on the context and scope of activity, the expert of TSU says. He stressed that data sources were diverse. Thanks to digitalization and the emergence of technologies that allow a person to easily and quickly publish various information on the Internet, world data are doubled in their volume not even daily, but in a shorter period of time.

"It turns out an abyss of information into which humanity plunges day after day. And there is user data  in this abyss - these are all our actions, digital reactions that we produce while in digital space. Even simple registration on a social network and the creation of a half-empty account is already an artifact that we leave behind in the virtual world," the scientist explains.

Big data under the magnifying glass

Center for Applied Big Data Analysis was created at TSU to study big data, including user data in 2016. Every year it grows in the skills and competencies available when working with big data, in the number of tasks and projects.

"TSU Center is not the only example where scientists are trying to benefit from a huge amount of data. So, a consortium of universities has appeared, the purpose of which is to join forces, exchange data, skills and technologies to extract these data," Feschenko says.

© сайт Томского государственного университета
One of the areas of research of the consortium scientists is a project related to measuring the third role of the university, that is, its impact on the economy, the level of human capital and the innovative potential of the region. Within its framework, among other things, experts found out which famous graduates of the university are the most "viewed" on Wikipedia.

"TSU made an interesting discovery for itself. It turned out that Kim Yom Nam is in first place among our most popular graduates. Who is he? Prominent politician of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Mikhail Bashkatov is in second place, in third - Andrei Burkovsky," the TSU scientist says.

Another study concerned a psychological portrait of a benefactor who supports endowment funds of universities.

"Scientists have wondered what pushes people to thank their universities and make contributions. Here, big data helped to collect a digital trail of philanthropists on social networks, summarize it and see some patterns. <...> All this helps universities improve methods of working with graduates and increase the number of philanthropists," the expert says.

Personality and trail - all in the " digital symbol"

The so-called digital model of a person or personality is directly related to big data. As a rule, artificial intelligence is used to compile such a model.

Feschenko notes: to understand what is meant by the digital model of a person, you need to understand what a digital footprint is.

"There are activities in human life related to learning and work. And in this part of digital space, a person generates a digital footprint, but not very saturated. It can be used to predict what will happen in human behavior, which requires a digital personality model. But from the point of view of creating forecasts its digital footprint in social networks, video hosting, instant messengers is richer," he says.

It is impossible to extract this data from everywhere - scientists work with open user data in social networks, and this is a huge layer of information. Science proves that from the digital trace you can understand what a person is and what psychological features he has.

So, one of the studies showed that according to the text on the "wall" of a particular person in social networks, it is possible to determine which psychological type he belongs to. This experiment was with the following scheme: real people performed a test, for example, at the level of extraversion, then their digital footprint on Facebook was investigated, and artificial intelligence found patterns.

It turns out that extroverts more often write texts related to sports, recreation, beach, and introverts more often mention modern Japanese culture.

What application can a digital footprint have? "An example of TSU's "Robot Career Guide" - an application in VKontakte, which will tell one of 10 professional areas in a few seconds that suits you in interests and life values printed in a digital footprint. The robot gives a forecast that will lead you to a list of professions, and there you will be able to choose both the faculty and the university," Feschenko explains.

Digital models of people are used in marketing, political election campaigns and much more, the scientist notes. The scope of application is growing every day - with the development of technology, and even more so with the transition of the world to a deeper distant.

Big data in the life of modern man

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