“If the stars are lit, does it mean someone needs it?”

Keeping incognito in the age of social media is not easy. But often we ourselves provide information about ourselves in the public space, guided by different considerations.

Flash mobs on the net are a very fashionable phenomenon that Internet users around the world are usually willing to support. And the recent flash mob # 10yearchallenge is another vivid confirmation of this.

Popular hashtag 

It would seem, well, what’s wrong with that, every day a huge number of people upload their current photos to social networks and immediately post photos two or three years ago. For some, this is a way to show off how good he looks or how he has changed for the better. And most often it does not become an international flash mob, but it is # 10yearchallenge that has become very popular, swept across many countries (even in China with its regulated Internet), covered more than one social network (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, VKontakte, etc.), attracted the attention of a wide variety of users, in extremely different age, social and other groups. Where does this popularity come from? As the saying goes, “if the stars are lit, then somebody needs it?”

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Many versions can be cited to explain who needed it. But my version of the popularity of this flash mob will not be conspiracy, but research. If I had to investigate the changes in the appearance of a huge number of people to improve the facial recognition system, then such a flash mob would be the perfect way. Judge for yourself: millions of people (in the Instagram alone more than 4 million posts with the hashtag 10yearchallenge) have posted their photos that are relevant and 10 years ago. This provides great opportunities for the study and systematization of changes in the appearance of a huge number of users. And all this is given free of charge in a short period of time and, which is important, systematically. Another way to collect such a huge amount of raw data for processing will not be so easy. It is hard to imagine, what will it cost to resolve issues with confidentiality and the right to use personal information of users, and a personal photo is personal data! But it turned out that the participants of the # 10yearchallenge flash mob – people of absolutely different ages, nationalities, social groups – posted their photos in the public space, that is, in fact, made this information public. And now these photos can be completely studied, analyzed and machine learning can be performed.

Who needs these “stars”?

If machine learning is used in the production of cucumbers, then machine learning for recognizing human faces provides tremendous opportunities in the future. Who could be the author of this popular flash mob? From my point of view, only the largest players in the IT market like Facebook itself, Google, Apple.

By the way, did you know that by entering a captcha every time and marking, for example, road signs and storefronts, you also participate in machine learning. After all, the recognition of road signs from a variety of angles and in different conditions is participation in teaching cars to autonomous driving.

About the Author

Alexander Gruzdev is an extraordinarily experienced consultant in business analytics. Since he was 14, Mr. Gruzdev was working in the market research industry and started several businesses including gambling organizations, retail shops, and real estate.

Since his first entrepreneurial endeavors began, he never quit market research – in fact, during the last 15 years Mr. Gruzdev held the positions of general manager and shareholder in this segment. His experience in global market intelligence spans over 20 countries including Europe, Russia, Asia, and the MENA region, for more than 100 different customers.