Data As Currency, Information As Commodity

What Wikileaks demonstrates to me is that information, like money will always seek the path of least restriction. Information is derived from data and more and more of it is available.  More of it will leak out, this is axiomatic. This got me to thinking about the larger implications of data and the commodity it produces, information.  It is as I have stated, its analogous to money. I have harped and shrilled to anyone who’d let me vent about what the future of the information age could be with the advent of ever larger and numerous data sets produced by all of us. I commonly call it an agent’s Dataspace, with us and our activities playing the agents.

There are huge social networks encompassing massive network graphs with dozens of tentacles of interconnections between sites, likes, links and media.   If you have a Facebook Page coupled with a Twitter account linked to You Tube with a blog site producing content and linking to insights you have yourself a nebulous dataspace already.  Not to mention the inclusion of mobile meta-data we create with every text, geo-location movements, App API calls and phone conversations. Like it or not this data is collected by someone whom later will utilize it to create value. So I have always asked as a user of all these services,  that we pump tremendous value into, don’t you have a right to that data or at least access to it? Many of the services we use for relatively little or free gain great value from our use it. It is in essence the currency they exchange for real dollars to advertisers and any other data merchants. Exabytes of conversions, blog posts with multimedia, Twitter musings, emails, IM chat sessions, SMS’s and etc. exist across hundreds of services.  If you mapped these data points across N-dimensions you would begin to fathom the concept of Dataspaces.

Now enter the growing importance of scientific and computing power available today that now allow keen insight to be extracted from large volumes of heterogeneous data (dataspace).  That data breeds meta-data which when analyzed farther begins to be shaped into information. The type of actionable intelligence moves commodity markets or bring efficiencies to retail supply chains. All these digital bread crumbs of data we produce become a raw material like iron ore and wood that when sold to practitioners capable of molding intermediate products, which are further processed through a digital supply chain.  More of it exists than we have the capacity as human beings to make use of. You could say it is an inexhaustible resource, but there is no such thing. We need a method that allows use (mankind) to collect, analyze, categorize, visualize and utilize that data – our data. That is the future of information as a commodity.  A commodity that derives its value from data. The true currency of the 21th century. The winners of this new future will be those that help us manage the Dataspaces constructs I’ve described.

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