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(Gawker) — Everyone’s familiar with how businesses use our personal information to deliver targeted advertising online. But new developments inpredictive analysis goes far beyond that, allowing companies to use thousands of points of data to make startlingly specific assumptions about customers. Network analysis, also known as predictive analysis, uses data about your interactions with others in a social network to make assumptions and predictions about your behavior. Basically, they read your mind. The Economist shows how powerful this can be for companies looking to sell products: Telecom providers, for example, want to identify “Influencers” who might persuade others to switch to their services. How do they spot these influencers?

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