the future of data: part I

Prediction is funny business. There are no shortage of erroneous forecasts to liter history. Mine may ultimately join the garbage heap of forecasts proven wrong.

Nevertheless, I have a number of bets I’m making about the future of data. In no particular order, I expect that:

  • Misinformation and security breaches will cause data to become more salient and personally important to more people than it ever has been before. Among the key questions we need to grapple with are:
    • Right to be forgotten vs potential for that to be abused (and the actual technical limitations w.r.t. forgetting digital anything)
    • Veracity of information + trustworthiness/identify of speakers online
    • Value of data (and to whom it accrues and under what set of circumstances and for how long)
  • Data regulation is inevitable (but who benefits from it is not)
  • The health, societal, and environmental impacts of technology and data will become more important, both politically and economically, across more and more countries and to more and more people. Particularly salient issues will be:
    • Privacy, Identity, Trust, Security (it’s the PITS, it really is)
    • Digital addiction
    • Network ownership (rights, responsibilities, etc)
    • Noise + data pollution
    • Web monetization
    • Inequality (homelessness, housing, job opportunities, wealth, etc)
  • Consumers will become increasingly impatient with externality costs imposed by technology, and will demand more equitable and sustainable technological development practices from industry. Businesses that fail to meet rapidly growing consumer expectations of good corporate citizenship will lose.
  • The societal impact of AI will cause unrest and violence unless we quickly figure out how to create new jobs to replace the ones AI is making obsolete. We do not currently have a compelling vision for how human beings will remain employed in the future, as we are creating it today. We need to put considerable resources behind emboldening risk takers to create jobs that make sense for human beings to do in the future. This future is not distant.

Enjoy this post? Also make sure you check out the future of data: part II

Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

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