Bloodless Revolution: Data Mass transforming the Masses

A cell phone in your pocket, a tab in your backpack, and an IT system in your back office, and off you are to unleash your own little revolution.

Data Revolution is the way ahead. Read it again. And you will discover a Data-driven revolution is actually a double whammy.

In the world of Version 1.0 and 2.0, data defined the world and knocked on our doorsteps with silos of info. But with the advent of social media and Version 3.0, all that tons of data started to get knocked around, here there and everywhere. That’s how data got smaller and smaller, as it got bigger and bigger, with giant servers serving up all the data to all the people and in all of 140 characters. (You can go ahead and tweet this gyan). That’s the revolution which is happening not once but almost in countless ways, and in ways we cannot even fathom. .

Data revolution? What’s the top-of-the-mind recall it gives? The Arab Spring in of all places, Egypt, was shaped largely by the social media, so much so that it is also described as a Twitter Revolution. The Arab Spring shook up the world’s richest sheiks through three million tweets and thousands of blog posts and YouTube videos.

Take a dipstick poll anywhere, any time among any people about the likeliest place where a bloodless revolution fueled by data could happen, and you will find that the Middle East would hardly find a mention in the poll. Right? Wrong. The Iranian Revolution for democracy is attributed to the Twitterati data warriors. It has even inspired calls to nominate Twitter for the Nobel Peace Prize.

For the pink press the Data Revolution is all about remaking big business, but that is the only visible part of the shakeup. What is invisible – or lesser known – is how it is transforming ordinary lives of ordinary people.

The Britannica Encyclopedia, the Bible of all Data, started eons back in 1768, is now history, felled by the revolutionary power of data. The PC era first pushed it to the precipice, and then the CD-Rom and an endless, me-too data devouring Wikipedias sent it to rest.

Who started The Huffington Post? Not Rupert Murdoch, but citizen journalists. What about Linux and Asterisk? They are powered by well, collaborative communities. How these little unknowns morphed into a kind of Big Boys Redux is what data revolution is all about.

This data revolution thing may be bloodless but is still scary – not so much for us, but for the big boys actually. If an iconic 250-year-old company can be sent packing by an upstart, imagine the mind-boggling extent to which the playing field has been leveled.

You can’t get more disruptive than this. Or maybe, the only way to get more disruptive is to get less disruptive…

Big data is not only disrupting our lives by the hour, but it is also redefining the rules of engagement globally and locally. Businesses don’t have to play by rules writ in stone anymore. Example: Facebook which has one in ten persons the world over logged in to it has no website of its own!

It might seem silly at the first cut, but the original revolutionary, Karl Marx may well have embraced this data-driven revolution as his own playbook. A cell phone in your pocket, a tab in your backpack, and an IT system in your back office, and off you are to unleash your own little revolution.

Looking ahead, we may have to find new ways to grapple with this data overload. Indigestion can afflict the mind too. While the walls between us have collapsed and have been replaced by “Windows” through which data can flit in and out, we have to run with what we have. In theory all this data is only making it that much more difficult to make sense of all this change, but it could still work in practice. As one anonymous wise man has said, “Wikipedia only works in practice. In theory, it can never work.”