Beyond the Bit – How data is used now and How it should be used tomorrow

Human beings are fascinating creatures that create massive amounts of waste, and now were on to the next best thing to add to our repertoire of the evolving human condition, data.

This intangible object (data) has become the fascination and addiction of corporations globally. In all its abundance and free flowing nature, Data is plentiful and ready to be hoarded into the depths of every marketing department, r&d facility or corporation’s servers. Now to what end will it be used, churned, analyzed, sold, resold, etc. would be speculation but our current practices of obtaining and utilizing data effectively to solve the most difficult financial, social, and ecological burdens we face is at best lackluster.

There are two sides to Data’s story and lets talk about where it all begins in this Chicken/Egg scenario. In any healthy financial ecosystem there is a balance between supply and demand, tit for tat. Data is the new currency and the supply has been flooding the system for years. Countless teraflops of data referencing disparate data points from every interaction people have in the internet. Like waste, people on their connected devices starting with tower PC’s then to Smart Phones computers unbeknownst to them were supplying all this data as a secondary affect of their online habits. Year after year after year.

Noise, some would call it when we first started looking at Big Data, and now that noise has become a statistician/PHD gold mine for nose bleed analytics. The supply (generated by us), like a central banks quantitative easing, has risen exponentially and become hoarded by the few. This cripples the growth in a system because all the resources are being hoarded by the wealthiest and most technically forward entities. That leads to a monopoly of control, and a evolutionary disadvantage of those who need the answers (the many).

This is not to say that with all these advancements in technology and how we apply data haven’t done great good and beneficial advances in some fields, it has. What we find is that those advances are limited to the select few that have the ability to access that stored information, and even more so, afford to purchase and analyze it.

I am no genius of statistics or high level mathematics, but when a larger populous is working on a task, the likelihood or probability of finding a solution to that problem increases dramatically. Yet here comes the trade off in a corporate perspective. In controlling that information, an entity would be willing to wait and analyze a task or problem with less of a populous, decreased probability of success, and increased length of time because those values are cause for a higher price tag rationale.

In that world (our current world) any sort of advancement in the research can almost be guaranteed by the few, leaving them with the power and the position to dictate said outcomes of what we call a “free market”. This I contend would be the most inorganic, inefficient, and monopolist (non-free market) approach toward financial, social, and ecological advancement. There is no economic incentive for large corporate entities to respect the sovereignty of those creating the data by affording them the control and or value of what they create. I leave judgment of those in that claim to your discretion.

The best super computer would be the human super computer. No computing power on this planet could match the prowess in combined consciousness of everyone across the globe looking to solve the same problem or task, and doing so with all the information available at their fingertips. We have been supplying all this data, that can solve all of our problems but we haven’t shared in the wealth of data currency. There is an asymmetry in the market that has eradicated sovereignty over our data and our digital identities. Leaving us as a data farming operation with little to no benefit from what we create. Data and its use, lacks proper incentive. This is for both parties in the supply and demand of the market.

Obvious reflection of what is seen in the media and public spectacles of misuse of this information we create is palpable. There is much “noise” around the subject but at a fundamental level, the sovereignty of data and lack of public incentive to control it is still missing. Looking ahead towards tomorrow and to true progress in our evolution as a global world we must respect where the data comes from. That respect will be a function of incentivizing those who create data to relinquish it when they choose to do so, while reminding them of their sovereignty in what they create, and that data can be more than just disparate “waste” information points coming together to make a best guess on how to solve a problem. Data, and people properly incentivized have the power to solve all of our toughest challenges that face our future. We have all the data we need, and now its time to respect its form and function as Source information that should be globally accessible, and globally incentivized.

Data is abundant, but Source Data (data from the individual, relinquished by the individual, and properly incentivized) is the obvious evolutionary step of our understanding and respect of this resource we so aptly create.

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