Have you noticed how ads you see on your Facebook page or on web sites while browsing the internet are somehow similar to what you searched for and browsed? Did you receive a catalog or coupons of a product by mail from a company even when you have never requested their catalog?
I believe we are now in the second stage of the computer era. In the first stage, computers were used to store data, process the data and retrieve simple information from the stored data. Databases are the best example of this stage of computing. Computers now can store vast amount of data and can collect data from different geographical locations and store it in one place (e.g., cloud computing). Based on this huge amount of data (i.e., big data) we can analyze a pattern or even predict the future of an event or a purchasing behavior. This is the second stage of the computer era.
Data Mining, a part of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, is responsible for finding patterns and predicting information from data. Netflix, Target, Facebook, Credit Card companies and many others use data mining to understand and predict their customers’ movies preference, purchasing pattern or shopping behavior.
Here is an interesting video about how advertisers use data mining to customize their ads: