by Angela Guess
A new article from Jim Stogdill asks the question, “Is ‘big data’ a key to some kind of industrial revolution reboot? Or, is it just going to be expensive table stakes for previously simple-to-understand businesses?” He continues, “For 200-plus years the industrial revolution has been a kind of Moore’s law of human productivity… But like Moore’s law in a single core, our industrial revolution in advanced economies is kinda playing out… Of course our economy continues to grow, but at a rate that is staying just a skosh ahead of population growth. And since the top 1% are taking all of that (and perhaps more), for the first time in American history parents are worrying that their kids won’t have opportunities better than their own.”
Stogdill turns the topic to big data, noting that Jim Baum recently stated, “big data is going to have a huge economic impact.” Stogdill asks, “At the risk of way over generalizing, so far ‘big data’ has mostly been about behavioral analysis to better target ads. Is that what Baum meant? That more effectively matching producer and consumer long tails through precision ad placement is going to fundamentally change the economy? That type of matching can promote economic activity, which is good, but I don’t see the link to fundamentally improved productivity. If this kind of innovation pulls another tranche of the bell curve out of poverty it will do it by putting more people to work doing the same stuff, not by making our economy fundamentally more efficient.”
He continues, “There obviously are places where large-scale data and analysis will improve efficiencies and productivity. Particularly in areas like smart grid, where it will reduce the investment necessary in power plant construction, or financial services, where it promises to help fight fraudulent transactions. What else? Are there big opportunities for order-of-magnitude productivity gains out there that come to mind? Or is most of the value created by this “new information age” going to be in some mushy upper region of Maslow’s hierarchy? A kind of middle class feel-good machine that remains completely irrelevant to the working poor dreaming of their first homes?”
See the full article for more.