IN THE DIGITAL ECONOMY YOU ARE FOR SALE

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How should the company behave in order to strengthen competitiveness in the world of data for sale? What benefits can individual customers derive from a world dominated by huge data sets?

Not that we aren’t, already, benefiting. I can get anywhere by plane within a few hours. Flight has never been so accessible and affordable. But that’s not just about jet engines and the Bernoulli effect. Think how much data needs to be sent, received and processed to make my journey easy. There are online searches, airline advertisements, price comparisons, flight bookings, ticket purchases, credit card transactions, promotions, transfers, connections, and luggage checking and handling. All that adds up to huge data sets — what we call big data.

We tend to forget about all that data as we go about our lives but hardly anyone would be surprised by IDC’s prediction that the digital universe — as measured by the volume of data created, processed, sent and delivered — will reach 180 zettabytes by 2025. That is 180 followed by 21 zeros. Already, the amount of information that surrounds every one of us every day equals the total volume of information that touched an individual over the entire twentieth century.

What does this mean to us now and how will it affect our lives tomorrow? Will we create standards for data use and sharing that protect our privacy? Will we be able to tell credible information from false? As customers and individuals, will we be able to manage our personal data? Will we be able to profit by it?

Can you sell yourself? Are you for sale?

But innovative service providers may enable consumers to capitalize on the information that today generates profit only for businesses. Turning the tables could produce interesting results.

One company that has taken this approach to the roles of data selling and buying is Datacoup. According to its website, its mission is to change the current model by empowering users to leverage (and profit from) their own data. Datacoup enables its paying customers to create data profiles on its website. Datacoup then makes the information in the profile available to buyers, mainly banks and insurance companies, which pay the individual for access. A profile’s value rises or falls depending on its content.

Is this the tip of a new spear? For this inverted model to spread, we would have to change our habits and perhaps be less inclined to give our data away for free. Major legislative solutions and the willingness of the corporate world would also be necessary.

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Internet of Things, or a data revolution

A global network of collaborating devices is something very new. We’ve never seen an intelligent organism grow independently of humans, feeding on the information that it itself generates. How does one control this process? Is it controllable? The Internet of Things may one day challenge legal systems, forcing them to deal with mushrooming information whose owners will be largely anonymous and difficult to identify.

Information must cooperate

There is no disputing the growing value of readily available and processable information sets. To convince those in charge to invest in the latest technology, including artificial-intelligence-based mechanisms, it is sometimes best to resort to the arguments of futurist. After all, futurists can create business scenarios (use cases) or data usage models that rely on modern technologies, those that, although are still in their infancy today, may well develop and play a huge role in the future. What technologies are those? Think of the possibilities of directly connecting the human brain with machines to eliminate the most ineffective human-machine interface, namely the computer keyboard. Compared to this, virtual and augmented reality (which is so popular today and is taking the entertainment or manufacturing industries by storm) looks like a mere toy.

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The drive to simplify

Related articles:

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–Robots awaiting judges

– A machine will not hug you … but it may listen and offer advice

–Machine Learning. Computers coming of age

–Internet bubble 2.0

Written by

Technology is my passion. Head of Microsoft Services CEE. Private opinions only

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