Saturday, May 31, 2014

What is the (data) point?

We have a growing ability to measure and record our environment and we are continuously increasing our data entropy. However our data still converges to the single decision point. We integrate several pieces of information and derive a conclusion which is, at the end of the day; only as good as the data it is based on.

Moreover, with evolving technologies these days, sophisticated data analysis tools and machine learning capabilities, we further see an increase in the automation and filtering of data as well as in decision making. Think, for example, about navigation systems, which gives you optimized driving directions, taking into account route and traffic information. This makes the need for accurate and well-managed fault tolerance levels even more important than ever.

A simple, yet powerful example on how vulnerable  we still are to the outcomes of poor data management is the recent disappearance of flight MH370. As you may know, this event has led to weeks of extensive searches and to what has been referred to as the most expensive search operation in history. Yet, while it is astonishing how limited amount of information was available to analyze, it is even more incomprehensible how ineffective the global community was in interpreting the data.

Now while it may be true that lack of data sharing of information related to the disappearance of the plane may stem from political and other reasons, it does show how far we are from servicing some of the most basic collaboration needs across our specie to act towards a common purpose. Furthermore, while it is may also be true that when we have multiple sources of information, it is easier for us to collaborate, it is precisely when we have little information, that the true quality of our ability to work towards a common purpose is exposed. These are situations that lead to sometimes critical decisions, which can have definitive and far-reaching implications on individuals and communities.

To me this screams communal data management immaturity. It is almost ironic, that while technologies have evolved to manage Peta bytes of data at the speed of light – our ability to tap into the real power of information remains in its infancy, especially when we cross communities and cultures.

But do not despair. We are still in the dawn of Teneo Vulgo, and we all know that a journey has to be completed one step at a time. We need to work on strengthening our close communal data management, and work towards bridging communal knowledge across isolated groups.

In conclusion, with the increase of data entropy, and our increasing need to apply information quickly and effectively – putting our head in the sand is simply not good enough.

Let’s work towards evolving our existence into a new level of social consciousness, where the exchange of information across communities becomes a force that helps us reach common goals.

Now did I hear someone saying data is boring?

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