Now, with big data age, the skills we need are meaning making, patterns recognition, and empathizing among others. While there has been plenty of focus over the past decade on the impact this deluge of data has had on connectivity, productivity, and the democratization of knowledge, scientists are just starting to uncover the many ways that this information can be mined for patterns used to predict, shape and react to events happening in the real world. This will eventually move us from predetermined questions to a world of narratives and exploration that help us answer questions we did not know we had.
Two key drivers of the new economy are automation and ephemeralization, a term coined by a philosopher and explored in a big data context in my Wired magazine article. With self-driving cars and smart machines that will both self-help and self-heal themselves.
The challenge in the future won’t be to produce “more” and “functional” materials. It’s not about using Big Data to express more arguments, it will be about telling compelling stories and engaging humans in emotional experiences. We as humans, in the new economy, intelligent computers are not going to replace us as long as we do what computers cannot do.
That being said, we should be prepared to think about our ancestors in the caveman age where they used to tell stories. We need to be able to engage in synthesis and find relationships inside relationships in order to find patterns in a plurality of data points that will eventually contribute to a singular definition of an entity. Not to be neglected is the role that big data can play when it can help engage empathy and develop better customer experiences and solve development issues.
The World Economic Forum declared that so many jobs will be replaced by automation and President Obama launched the initiative of teaching high school kids how to code to prepare for the new economy. However, I am not sure that the whole population should how to code though but the skills mentioned above will be the core for the new economy. Recently, the Economist declared the battery era by the time we read the fall of Oil prices in the other shore.
In the near future, we should be ready for new challenges. I was invited by Cisco as an Industry Analyst for the Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai last December and I was intrigued by the presentation of Intel as they highlighted the issues relating to environmental health, water scarcity, an aging population (40 % of people will be over 60 by 2050), and the need to deal with a changing climate, as this will produce both risks and opportunities.
I’ll be discussing these themes from the MENA region’s perspective among other topics in my panel on February 21”The Potential Impact of Data-Driven Innovation on Business Opportunities, Economic Growth and Development in the MENA Region.” at the Data Driven Innovation MENA in Cairo. Other great minds will be joining me in the panel including:
My colleague at Data Aurora, Bahia Halawi, will also be delivering several trainings during the week on data journalism and innovation. It’s quite great to have such initiatives and move data innovation forward in the MENA region.