In today’s Exponential Investor…
- Junk in = junk out
- Pick a god, any god
As I write this, #Pizzagate is trending online… AGAIN.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, the TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) version is a conspiracy that a global paedophile ring involving powerful world and industry leaders was being run out of Comet Ping Pong pizza restaurant in Washington D.C.
Still, that hasn’t stopped the conspiracists from claiming #Pizzagate is still going strong.
However, today isn’t about the conspiracies. Today is about truths and also truths that can tell lies.
Sounds contradictory I know.
But hear me out.
Why aren’t we getting all the data?
Right now, here in the UK, for the life of me, I cannot understand why daily Covid-19 deaths continue to be reported.
Day-to-day, there are now more people dying from cancer, heart disease, and other “regular” disease and illness.
I also can’t fathom how the lockdown of children was on par with the lockdown of the elderly. We know for a fact more kids die of SIDS and SUDC every year than have died (or I expect will die) from coronavirus.
We also know for a fact that more kids under the age of 19 will commit suicide (likely an increase there too during all this) than have died (or likely will die) from coronavirus.
There is a disparity between the real data here and the narrative that’s being pushed out to everyone.
I understand that the government and media believe, or at least have convinced themselves, this reporting of their “data” is for the greater good. But the data they don’t publish, don’t tell us about and that doesn’t get its due coverage, is as bad as fudging the figures of the data they are telling you about.
Now of course that’s not necessarily the case where everything about everyone is always released. When data doesn’t fit the narrative of those who want to control the actions of society – they will either not show it, suppress it or just pretend it doesn’t exist.
The data they don’t tell you about is absolutely the data that doesn’t fit their fear narrative. Hence to many people this is data that doesn’t exist and isn’t important any more, which is far more damaging to society than we’ll ever hear about.
This is why data is dangerous in the wrong hands. And also a growing realisation is the equation of, junk data in = junk data out.
That means you will only get bad results and bad data if the data you’re using for analysis is flawed and rubbish to start with.
Yet we now live in a world where we are creating, transferring and consuming data at a speed and size never before seen in history.
We are only creating more of it, sending it around faster and faster, and apparently being ever more reliant on how we analyse that data and the actions we take from that analysis.
Data is now a god to many – but perhaps it’s the falsest god of them all…
Fact or faith?
I’m not going to get overly religious here, that’s not my lane. But at the same time I appreciate that faith is an important part of humanity. Where that faith is placed, where you place your faith, it’s up to you.
You might put your faith in a Christian deity, a Muslim deity, a Buddhist deity, even a Scientology deity or a Jedi deity.
Perhaps you don’t have a deity at all and believe in the power of science and the randomness of the universe.
If you place your faith in one god under the impression that all others are false, then you must also appreciate that to someone else who has faith in another god, your god is a false one too.
Hence there’s a rational school of thought that says all gods are false gods. Something to think about.
But there are a number of other schools of thought that suggest “data” has itself become a religion. That perhaps data is a god?
People blindly place faith in data without truly considering the consequences. That includes government, authority, and many individuals. They don’t often take the time needed to consider their data, their new god, could be fatally flawed.
An IDC whitepaper in conjunction with Seagate suggests that by 2025,
- The global “datasphere” will grow to 175 Zettabytes (ZB)
- 49% of the world’s stored data will exist in “the cloud”
- China’s “datasphere” will be the world’s largest.
To give you an idea of just how much data that is, the reports says,
If you could download the entire 2025 Global Datasphere at an average of 25 Mb/s, today’s average connection speed across the United States, then it would take one person 1.8 billion years to do it.
This is exacerbated by the potential of around 40-odd billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices creating immense amounts of data. And predictions suggest that the average number of connected devices per person in the world in 2025 will be around 9.27 devices.
That’s some world we’re stepping into. A world that’s on the “fast juice” too when you consider the benefits of speed, latency and reach that networks like 5G are going to deliver.
Of course not every single person on the face of the earth will be “connected”. The International Data Corporation expects around 6 billion people to be connected and interacting with data on a daily basis. So while 9.27 connected devices might seem like a lot, in terms of practicality to you and your surroundings, it’s likely far higher.
I mean, you could just consider all the things you’re connected to right now. And then think about how many more things you might be connected to in another five years. If you’re struggling with that, think about the things you’re connected to today that you weren’t connected to five years ago.
The point being is that we are in a world of mass data. And that data can be used for good, and for bad. When it comes from those in power, don’t forget it’s data used to fit the narrative at the time.
And sometimes it will be tweaked and twisted to tell a false narrative. And this false narrative will be the rationale for life-changing decisions of which we have little control.
This all leads us to recognise that one of the most important areas in technology for our future will be around how we look at data, how we create data and how we protect the integrity of data.
A hyper-connected world with a new “data god” beckons. We just have to be very careful in how much faith we place in this new, and potentially false, god.
Editor, Exponential Investor