Talk Tech with Data Dave Episode 11: Where is Data Going?

Where is Data Going?

Where is data going in the next 3-5 years? Get philosophical with Data Dave and Alexis as they discuss the implications of big data and technology while making predictions about the future of data. 

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January 2, 2024




Hi everyone, welcome to Talk Tech with Data Dave, I’m Alexis, your host of Talk Tech with Data Dave, and I’m here with my dear friend, Data Dave. We’re here to talk to you about all things technology, all things data, all things cloud, all things D3Clarity. 

Data Dave
Good morning, Alexis. Good morning, everybody. This is Data Dave, Dave Wilkinson, the CTO of D3Clarity and welcome to Talk Tech with me, Data Dave. 

Dave, my question today is a little bit philosophical if you will. Where is data headed in the next three or four years? What sort of implications is data going to have on my life in the next few years? 

Data Dave
Well, that’s an excellent question, Alexis. As I usually say, but it is an excellent question.  

I think we should all be thinking about that. Data has come a long way in the last two or three years. We actually pay more attention to the data than we ever have paid before. We went through a wave a couple of years ago, on the whole privacy thing and everybody paying attention to their particular personal data and to the nature of privacy. And, “How do you protect your identity?” and that sort of thing.  

That was a wave a little while ago where we were sort of said, “Should I be releasing my personal data, et cetera? And how do we do that right?”  So, if we look back just a bit and look through that wave, we’re collecting more and more data and everybody’s collecting more and more data. What’s good is everybody’s getting more and more cognizant of the data that they’re publishing, that they’re putting out. So, if we play a slightly different historical game for a minute and look at the social media wave, the rise of Facebook. The rise of other social media. Instagram whatever you want to say. People are actually being way more responsible than they ever were.  

Ohh yeah. 

Data Dave
Society has almost learned to live in a world of social media now, where 10 years ago, they didn’t. When my daughter was a teenager, it was all over the place too. They were putting everything out and now, mid 20s, the world has changed. We’ve moved on. Society has become more responsible to that kind of data.  

So, as we look forward, we start to say, “Where is data going? How do we move forward with data?” Every organization is collecting more and more data. You know, if we go back to our previous episodes where we say data is simply the evidence of action, we’re now collecting that data. We’re observing actions. We’re collecting the data that describes those actions almost everywhere. We talked about cloud a little while ago as well. 


Data Dave
And with the cloud coming in, the relatively easy availability of massive amounts of compute power to now crunch that data and make decisions based on it is also a way for the future. So, you start to bring this, “Can I process the data? Am I capable of processing the data?” Well, the answer is now yes, even as a relatively small company, you can buy the compute power and the technology to actually operate on large amounts of data and make meaningful decisions and outcomes. We’re collecting more and more data. As time goes by, both as individuals and as sort of members of society, members of commerce.  

So, I’ve got more photographs on my phone than I ever had as I was growing up. Right? My kids, my world, my life is way more photographed than it ever was before. My immediate go-to. I needed to know my license plate number the other day. My immediate thing was I went and took a photograph of the car. I wouldn’t have done that 10 years ago I’d gone and write it down with a notepad and pen. 

Ohh Dave. I’m with you. I have a picture of my license plate in my phone for that very reason. That way I don’t have to keep going to look for it. 

Data Dave
Exactly. I was doing some work on… actually a home generator, not a whole home generator, but a small generator, I had the other day. What did I do? I photographed the serial number.  

We take photographs of everything. We’re putting out more and more data. We’re collecting more and more data. We’ve got the compute power to read those photographs. All these photographs in the cloud, we’ve got the compute power to read them. We’ve got to compute power to collect evidence of almost every action that we take, and it’s something we’ve got to get used to. We want the benefit from it. But we’ve also got to take responsibility for it as we do it.  

We want people to know that I’m close to this restaurant or that restaurant. I usually eat cheeseburgers, not chicken sandwiches or whatever. So, recommend the restaurant. But with that, there comes a level of responsibility as to how we use it. And how accurate it is. Society is still learning how to deal with this level of data.  

Some organizations are very good at using it from a technology point of view, some organizations are less good at it. Some of them are more scrupulous than others, right, for how they use it, I. Think we’ve got to learn how to hold people accountable to using it and how to hold people accountable for the accuracy of it.  

If we are foolish, we can’t expect people not to use our data foolishly if we use it foolishly. We’ve got to expect other people to use it foolishly, if that makes sense. I do think that we have to look at the accuracy of the data and the way the data is both collected and used, 

So, one of the things that I hear… in my former life, I heard it all the time, was that the law is not as fast as the technology. Yeah. And that is what I was thinking of when you we just said, you know, we have to learn how to be responsible about it because the current laws can’t keep up with the technological advances and how quickly things are changing. So, that’s the perfect kind of lead back to what does that mean for three years from now? For five years from? 

Data Dave
Now you’re absolutely right. And I think the law will catch up. But the law is based largely on precedent and largely on correcting bad behavior. But the bad behavior is already done. I think we as individuals have put this to everybody need to be responsible and treat it responsibly and hold people accountable for collecting things and using them accurately. If we do something, if it is collected accurately, then the law doesn’t have a part to play.  

Now, we can argue whether there should be a statute of limitations on being stupid, right? You got drunk in college. I hold that against you for a job interview because a picture was put on the internet. 

I think we as a society have to take on a responsible attitude that says, “I did get drunk in college. It was captured in a picture. But Alexis, yeah, that was 20 years ago. You can’t hold me accountable for that. Or you can hold me accountable, but you can’t judge me for it. You can’t not employ me because of it. I have changed. I have grown.” And I think as individuals, as businesses, as society,  we need to act responsibly. Which is, we need to only collect accurate data if we process accurate data, then we will come up with accurate predictions, accurate interpretations of that data. If the data is incorrect, we have an issue. So I think we have to learn to hold people accountable to the accuracy of the data that they collect. I think we as individuals need to step up on all sides in terms of the data that we publish, the data we collect, and frankly, treat people in the way that we’d like to be treated, which is most of the people that are interpreting this data wouldn’t want to be judged by the same way that they’re dealing it as individuals.  

So, I do think we’re going to see a continued massive increase in the collection of data because it can add benefits to individuals, benefits to society, and the benefits usually outweigh that.  

I do think we are going to see a continued wave of sort of controversy about incorrect usage of data. “Should you use healthcare data for commercial purposes and various other things?” We’re going to see the legislature and people continue to address those issues and they’re sort of ethical issues surrounding that.  

What I would put to people is, you know, treat the data with respect. Treat the people that you’re collecting the data from, with respect. Which is, if you’re collecting evidence of action, then treat that with the respect that they deserve. People take action. People aren’t always as responsible as they could be. Let’s use the data, use the action, appropriately and stay respectful.  

But I think we’re going to continue to see that growth in the collection of data, the proliferation of data, the ability to process and interpret the data and I include machine learning, AI and everything else in that ability to interpret the data that is collected and make decisions. We have to be, as people, as individuals, we have to be responsible for the data we put out, and we have to be responsible for the interpretation of the data that we collect.  

If I run an AI algorithm and it makes an incorrect prediction or an incorrect interpretation about you, I am responsible for that. I can’t blame it on the AI. I collected the data. I asked it its opinion. It gave me something wrong.  

Same as an employee, if I hire somebody. I have to take accountability for their decisions when they’re acting as an agent of me, and the same is true within AI. If I get an interpretation from AI and I act upon it, and it is incorrect, then I am accountable. And I think we have to remember that and grow with that as we move forward. 

That reminds me of one of the last episodes of Talk Tech that we recorded, where we talked about the e-mail addresses at the point of sales site. The MickeyMouse@ e-mail addresses and the responsibility that the vendor had to clean that data, to fix that data. To make sure that they were making accurate statements. That’s what I’m thinking about when you were talking about making sure that we’re collecting accurate data. 

Data Dave
Exactly. It’s collecting accurate data and being responsible with the data that we do collect and that we collect the event and the action. The evidence of the action appropriately, and then we clean it up so that we can feed it into our algorithms to make accurate predictions. And you know, it’s that side of it as well. And then being held accountable for those decisions. The data told me is not an excuse for making a poor decision. Right. From a data point of view, we’re going to see increased amounts of data. We’re going to see increased collection of data. We’re going to see this wave continue to go there. We’re going to see more and more uses of the data by the massive amounts of compute power that can crunch numbers and give us a prediction. And I think that’s absolutely true. We’re gonna see data on everything. Data that describes everything.  

What we’ve got to remember is that data is not knowledge. Data is not prediction, necessarily. We can predict things based off the data. Data isn’t a substitute for experience. We’ve heard the term “analysis paralysis”. I’ve got so much data that I can’t make a decision. We’ve still got to make decisions. We’ve still got to move forward as individuals, as society, as commerce, as everything. And I think we’ve got to where we’re going to see massive amounts of data. We’re going to see people held accountable, cause more and more data is captured on people. And I think that’s the direction that I think data is going. We’re going to get more, more, more for want of a better phrase. But with that, we’ve got to learn to deal with it, learn to manage it, and learn to treat it responsibly. 

Let me do a now somewhat infamous Alexis wrap-up. Data is not going away. 

Data Dave
No, no, absolutely. 


In fact, we’re going to be using it more and more and more, but from Data Dave’s perspective, and Alexis’s perspective, it’s important that we are responsible with the data that we collect. Is that kind of a recap of what we just talked about? 

Data Dave
Yes, I think so. I think that’s a very good recap. But you put it nicely into a nutshell where you summed me up into about 3 sentences. Very nice. 

That’s what I do. Well, thanks everyone for joining us today on Talk Tech with Data Dave. If you have a question for Data Dave, don’t forget to e-mail us at Otherwise, thanks, Dave. And I hope you have a good day. 

Data Dave
And you! Thank you very much. 

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