6 Predictions About Data In 2020 And the Coming Decade

It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. But one fairly safe prediction is that data will continue eating the world in 2020 and the coming decade. The most important tech trend since the 1990s will no doubt accentuate its presence in our lives, for better or for worse.

 

At the beginning of the last decade, IDC estimated that 1.2 zettabytes (1.2 trillion gigabytes) of new data were created in 2010, up from 0.8 zettabytes the year before. The amount of the newly created data in 2020 was predicted to grow 44X to reach 35 zettabytes (35 trillion gigabytes). Two years ago, we were already at 33 zettabytes, leading IDC to predict that in 2025, 175 zettabytes (175 trillion gigabytes) of new data will be created around the world.

The most important new tech development of the passing decade has been the practical success of deep learning (popularly known as “artificial intelligence” or “AI”), the sophisticated statistical analysis of lots and lots of data or what I have called Statistics on Steroids (SOS). In the coming decade, data will continue to beget data, to break boundaries, to drive innovation and profits, and create new challenges and concerns.

Faster networks will re-energize the data virtuous cycle

The constant increase in data processing speeds and bandwidth, the nonstop invention of new tools for creating, sharing, and consuming data, and the steady addition of new data creators and consumers around the world, ensure that data growth continues unabated. Data begets more data in a constant virtuous cycle.

But from time to time there is a specific tool or technology that act as a new catalyst. Over the last decade such catalysts were smart phones and social networks. Over the next few years, a new catalyst will be 5G networks, and by 2030, 6G networks with speeds of 1 terabyte per second. Internet delivered via satellites will play a similar role of accelerating the movement of data and reducing latency in the not-distant future.

There will be many new places for data to emerge and spread

Data fills all voids. Even after thirty-five years of enterprise “digital transformation” and twenty-five years since the big data big bang (i.e., the Web, popularly known as “the internet”), there are still a few billion unconnected people and industries that are still primarily analog. The people of Asia and Africa are correcting the former lacuna and sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, and education provide the missing pieces for the latter. Other dominant (and relatively new) sources of data creation and consumption will be things such as sensors that enable new locations for enterprises for collecting and even processing and analyzing data and things that move such as automobiles.

In addition, enterprises will accelerate their shift from focusing on managing (collecting, storing, analyzing) internal data to investing the greater part of their IT resources in managing (collecting, storing, analyzing) external data, most of it “unstructured,” with a significant share of this data emerging from new audio and video sources.

Synthetic data will add a new dimension to data growth

Deep learning is brute force AI. Unlike Deep Blue, however, its brute force is derived (primarily) from lots and lots of data rather than lots and lots of processing power. Unlike Google and Facebook and Amazon, however, most enterprises do not have lots of data (relatively speaking) in their data centers. Their solution will be to take their own (meager) volumes of data and synthesize it to create the amount of data required for training their algorithms and validating their models. Synthetic data will graduate from its role as a sub-set of anonymized data to play a new one in the training of deep learning algorithms in data-challenged enterprises.

The business of data will become a significant sector of the global economy

Google and Facebook have led the way in showing the world you can build a very large and profitable business based solely on the collection and analysis of data. But their revenues are derived almost exclusively from serving as an advertising platform and the value of their data to their business is measured in relations to advertising efficiency and effectiveness. In the coming decade we will see more and more businesses, some growing quite large, whose sole business is data as an asset that has a defined intrinsic value and can be bought, sold, serviced, and added (as a distinct component) to other products and services. This will also be true for many enterprises that will come up with metrics to measure the value of data to their business and ways to “monetize” it, i.e., make it a distinct revenue stream. And the sub-sector of the data economy known as cyber crime will continue to grow by leaps and bounds.

The most successful and well-paying jobs will be data-related

From data preparation to perfecting data analysis models, the most important jobs of this coming decade will be related to data, its management and protection, its governance and monetization, its analysis and role in decision-making. In addition to the establishment and proliferation of data-related jobs, “data literacy” will become a major focus of internal training for all employees in many enterprises. Almost all products and services will either be based on data or will have a data component and their developers, managers, and sellers will have to be data proficient.

We will continue to trade our data privacy for convenience, entertainment, and feeling connected

Regardless of new government-mandated data privacy policies, our deliberate or unwitting or forced data nakedness will ensure the continuation—and possibly acceleration—of the data mining and monetization by enterprises and government agencies (such as DMVs in the US). “Other people’s money” will be dwarfed by “other people’s data.”

In the coming decade, buzzwords will come and go, but data—its growth, analysis, and use—will be the most significant and consistent tech trend. Ones and zeros will continue eating the world.

 

https://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2020/01/06/6-predictions-about-data-in-2020-and-the-coming-decade/?ss=ai#63a8163d4fc3