It's Your Data, It's Your Life

July 8, 2014

Use your data. 

That’s the message from author and editor Patrick Tucker, who appeared this week on a radio show to tout the benefits of a new era in which the world can anticipate everything you do.

Tucker is the author of “The Naked Future,” a book that argues that we’ve moved beyond just “Big Data” into the “telemetric” age, where data can be used to predict things about our location and behavior.

 “It’s all information we make through our transactions, our little interactions,” he said during an apperance on the Kojo Nnamdi show. “We’re going to create exponentially more data like this in the years ahead.”

How much data? Well, a single person currently fills about nine CD-ROMS every day. And by 2020, the amount of data collected will be 40 times that collected in 2009.

It may seem a bit creepy. But Tucker downplayed privacy concerns, arguing that the world is moving toward an age when individuals can take ownership of this data, and prosper as a result. Think of items like the FitBit, which allows individuals to track their own health information. Or imagine the ability to received customized reports about how often you drive, and where.

“Just because it doesn’t work out for us yet doesn’t mean that it won’t,” he said. “You just have to be really into the idea.”

Using data to predict behavior can have major impacts on how we get around, how we communication, and what we buy. But it could also be applied to things like disaster response and education, and it all will help the nation become more innovative, more competitive and stronger.

Tucker said we should be appreciative of the people who have tested and embraced data-driven innovations.

“Those early adopters that are out there—they are going to be the pioneers that we’ll all thank later when there is a slew of devices that allows us all to get involved,” he said.

Tucker used the example of supermarket bonus cards. Currently, he said he’s not big a fan of them, because they generally just collect customer data that is then used by grocers to try and sell them additional products.

But what if the dynamic was different? What if the customer to could sign up for the card and request a full record of their shopping history? Now, that would be powerful information in the hands of the consumer. And that kind of thing is on its way.

“The future is inevitable,” Tucker said. “Be happy about it.”