Conventional wisdom holds that the interplay of demand and supply of goods in a free market economy, as if through an invisible hand, provides us with material wealth. This vantage point is based on Adam Smith’s reference to an economy where most of mankind lived in small communities, where self-interest was restrained by a desire to be esteemed by others, and personal relationships bound overweening opportunism.
Big Data analytics have become pervasive in today’s economy. While they produce countless novelties for businesses and consumers, they have led to increasing concerns about privacy, behavioral manipulations, and even job losses. But the handling of vast quantities of data is anything but new.