miércoles, 1 de julio de 2015

"Data Divides": Paying attention to the signs to avoid building a more unfair world

The great consensus is that we are living in a data-driven economy. Big data technology and services are expected to grow worldwide to USD 16.9 billion in 2015 at a compound annual growth rate of 40%. This means that it is almost certain that currently "data divides" are being opened among those who are managing to jump in the wagon of the data revolution and those who not. These "data divides" are not uniform, and we can find how they are different depending what parameter we look at.

We can expect in the future that the more egalitarian society will be those that the usage of data is more extended. As the main device for data consumption will be our mobile phones, the usage of mobile data services is an outstanding indicator of the losers and winners of the data revolution. Obviously, this usage depends on the price of the mobile data services. So unless things change, taking into account this perspective we can expect that in the future nordic countries will continue to be the more egalitarian societies in Europe according with a recent report on mobile data prices

Nevertheless, there are other "data divides" that are being built at this moment. Transparency is a highly appreciated feature in governments. It brings more accountability and therefore better policies due to an easier analysis of outcomes by the citizens. Of course, it will depend on the quality and type of data published, but the first step is making easier the access and reuse of data. So in the long run, we can expect that the countries that published more data will be the countries with better policies and therefore with a quicker progress. This is a reason to pay attention to the possible "data divide" that is being created between countries with better and worst open data policies. The OURdata index created by the OECD give us some clues about this "data divide", which does not have the same borders as the previous one.

The "data divides" are not being created only among countries. They could being on the made also among industries. It would be reasonable to expect that the economic sectors with a brightest future will be those that currently have a bigger and wiser spending in big data technologies. Looking the landscape from this point of view, it is quite surprising the report on sectoral big data spending published by Tata. One should have expect more spending on big data technologies from manufacturing, for instance. Anyway, it could be a signal of which are the industries of the future.

"Data divides" are certainly being built. However we need more evidences to identify which are the real ones. It is time to pay attention to different reports in order to be able to create the policies needed for a more fair world and egalitarian societies with data-driven economy at its heart.

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