Amazon, Alphabet, Alibaba, Facebook, and Tencent are just five of the most important companies in the world that have been around for 25 years, but one thing they all have in common is that they all have their own ‘data’. We became rich because of ‘
It’s not surprising that we value data as ‘oil’ and call it ‘new fuel’. As of 2011, five of the world’s 10 largest oil companies were oil companies, and now only one Exxon Mobil is part of the list.
However, the comparison between data and oil is also not correct because data can be used multiple times and oil is required only once but there is a mismatch between data and oil and both are not usable in the raw state.
You have to go through different steps to make them worthwhile.
You analyze the data so you can find information that can help you make good decisions, such as what type of ads to put on social media or what search results to put on the page.
Suppose a user is watching a video on YouTube. So what does YouTube recommend to watch this next video? Google operates YouTube, while Google is owned by Alphabet.
If YouTube forces them to stay on their website by showing them an interesting video, they may show another ad, but if the user loses attention, they will leave the website.
You have all the data you can use to make an interesting video suggestion to this user, to make that decision. You have all the videos this user has watched on YouTube. You guess what you like and dislike this user.
You also have data on what videos other users watch after watching this video.
So, just look at the available options and the possibilities. If you choose this video wisely and the user sees another ad, then you have earned 20 cents for Alphabet.
Obviously, relying on humans to review data would be foolish. Such business models require machines to operate.
Data economy not only makes data easier for you to make decisions but the synergy of data and algorithms is very important here.
In 1880, an American-born German inventor told his family about the machine that could analyze data faster than humans.
The inventor, Herman Hollerith, designed the machine, but they needed money to test it.
The features of this machine were like a straight piano, but instead of piano keys, there are slots of cards whose volume is the same as a dollar note and they have ink.
You have 40 clock-shaped dials in front of you, and when you insert these cards into the machine, the needles of those dials may or may not make a difference.
The family of Hermann Hollerith did not understand the machine, so they made fun of him instead of paying for the machine. Hollerith did not forget that, and he did away with them. Even later, their children did not know that their father had relatives.
The invention of Hollerith found a solution to a very specific problem. That is, every ten years, the US government does the census, and governments always want to know who lives where and how many assets they have so that tax receipts can be increased and military recruits.
However, if you are sending personnel across the country to conduct a census, then surely there is nothing wrong with asking more questions in this regard.
Like what kind of jobs people do, whether they have a disease or disability, and what languages they speak.
Certainly, knowledge is a great power, and that is what happened to 19th-century bureaucrats just like companies in the 21st.
However, in the 1880 census, the bureaucrats collected so much data that it became difficult to use.
In this census, libraries, nursing homes, crime statistics, and other fields were also included. In the 1870 census, there were five different forms, while in 1880 the number of these forms was 215.
It soon became clear that the answers to these forms would take years to answer. They knew that the new census would be on the head as long as they collected the census responses.
However, if one expedites these steps, then surely a profitable job from the government will be waiting for it.
Young Herman worked on the 1880 census and he understood the problem.
They thought of making a profit by inventing a new style of brakes for trains. Shumi fate that he also solved the problem of census data during a train journey.
The wind was as though the tickets were often stolen. Therefore, railway companies have developed an interesting way of preventing this and have identified the customer through the ‘punching holes’ on the ticket.
Conductors try to convey ‘hole eyes, big nose, light-colored hair’ through a hole punch. So if someone with dark hair and a short nose grabs your ticket, he won’t be able to travel on the train for long.
After a careful review of the system, Hollerith realized that the responses of the people to the census could also be separated with the help of holes in the cards.
This could have been a solution to this problem as drilled cards were used to control the machines from the early 19th century, the same was done in the Jacquard’s drawing maker.
So now Hollerith had to develop only a machine through which to track the data obtained from those drilled cards.
This piano-style machine has pins from springs on these cards. As soon as the machine is powered on and they find a hole, an electric circuit is completed and the dial needle is raised one level.
Hollerith’s luck was that the bureaucrats liked his invention more than his family.
He rented this machine and reviewed the census data of 1890, in which he added more forms.
Compared to the old system, the Holerath machine proved to be much faster and cheaper.
More importantly, they made it easier to analyze statistics.
Suppose you are looking for people between the ages of 40 and 45, they are married, and professionally advanced. You do not need to carefully review 200 tons of documents for this. Just run the machine and play cards through it.
The government soon began to realize the utility of this machine far beyond the census.
Adam Tooze, the historian, said: ‘It is expected from bureaucrats all over the world that they should know everything. ‘
For the first time in the United States, social security funds were donated in 1930 through drilled cards. Over the next decade, such drilling cards helped bring about the horror of the Holocaust.
Businesses too soon realized its utility. Insurance companies used these drilled cards to calculate statistics, and they also used tasks such as billing, railway trade. While other manufacturers used them in terms of sales and pricing.
The Hollerith Tabulating Machine Company traded well during that time. You may have heard of the name of a company known as IBM after several mergers.
It has been a market leader for a while as these drilled cards turn into a magnetic repository of data while data-tracking machines are in the computers. It was one of the top ten companies in the world until a few years ago.
The question that arises here is that if the power of data was assessed by Hoolereth’s customers, then why did it take a century to highlight the importance of the data economy?
The reason for this is that there is something new in the current data that is comparing it to oil and that Google and Amazon do not need an army of personnel to collect data.
Whenever we use smartphones, we provide information about ourselves, even if we tell Alexa to turn on the light.
These figures are not arranged in the same way as answers to the questions asked in the census, which Hollerith easily punched in the cards. So it’s difficult to make them useful. However, the numbers and types of these figures are enormous.
As algorithms are getting better and lives are being spent on the Internet, at one time the dream of knowing everything from bureaucrats is fast becoming a reality for the corporate world.