Anthony Cody recently read Simon Head’s Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans. This book, Cody says, shows how society is organized to benefit corporations, not people. He then includes a video clip from the CEO of Knewton, who claims that education is ripe for data mining.

He says:

“Education happens to be the world’s most data minable industry by far. And its not even close…. The name of the game is data per user. So one of the things that fakes us out about data in education is because it is so big – like the fourth biggest industry in the world – it produces incredible quantities of data. But data that just produces one or two data points per user per day is not really all that valuable to an individual user. It might be valuable to like a school district administrator, but maybe not even then. So let’s just compare. Netflix and Amazon get in the ones of data points per user per day. Google and Facebook get in the tens of data points per user per day. So you do ten minutes of messing around in Google and you produce about a dozen data points for Google. So Knewton today gets five to ten million actionable data points per student per day. Now we do that, because we get people, if you can believe it, to tag every single sentence of their content – we have a large publishing partnership with Pearson, and they’ve tagged all of their content. And we’re an open standard, so anyone can tag to us. If you tag all of your content, and you do it down to the atomic concept level, down to the sentence, down to the clause, you unlock an incredible amount of trapped, hidden data.

“We literally know everything about you and how you learn best. Everything. Because we have five orders of magnitude more data about you than Google has. We literally have more data about our students than any company has about anybody else, about anything, and it’s not even close. That’s how we do it.”

The day of Big Data grows closer. Arne Duncan sees it. David Coleman sees it. Do you see it?