Ten strange facts on big data and crowdsourcing

Did you know that all of us, not just IT experts, make use of crowdsourcing and big data – almost without ever noticing? We have compiled ten strange facts for you on this topic.

Did you know, for example, ...

  1. that we generate 2,500,000,000,000,000,000 (2.5 quintillion) bytes of data every day? That would be enough to fill 10 million Blu-ray discs, which would be four times higher than the Eiffel Tower if stacked one on top of the other. (
  2. that, when you use Google, you are helping teach self-driving vehicles to recognize road signs? That’s a helpful side effect of when you use reCAPTCHA software to select images of signs from among ten different pictures in order to prove that you are a human and not a machine. (
  3. that crowdsourcing can help speed up medical research? For instance with the Sea Hero Quest games app, which is a playful way for anyone to advance dementia research. 
  4. that we leave plenty of traces of ourselves when we surf the web? For instance, Facebook can see what other websites logged-in users are currently surfing. The only prerequisite is that the websites have an integrated Facebook plug-in such as the Like button. (
  5. that it really is just an urban legend that, through search terms like “head cold” and “pharmacy,” Google knows better than the public health authorities whether a flu epidemic is in the offing. (, article “Wie groß ist Big Data?”)
  6. that, way back in the 1980s, Michael Douglas (aka Gordon Gecko) said in the film Wall Street: “The most valuable commodity I know of is information.” (
  7. that smartphones can warn us of earthquakes? For example with the free My Shake app, which is currently being developed in cooperation with researchers from the University of California, Berkeley. 
  8. that the German road toll collection system has a better overview of the traffic situation on the country’s freeways than any other system?
  9. that your activities on Facebook, Xing, LinkedIn, etc. are already being used to help determine your credit rating? (
  10. that a U.S. supermarket uncovered a teen pregnancy by evaluating its customers’ shopping habits? (,
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