Move Over Perpetual Motion Machines, There’s Now a Perpetual Data Machine – Big Data!

youtube-Logo-4
gc2
reddit-logoOff the keyboard of Allan Stromfeldt Christensen

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Like us on Facebook

Published on From Filmers to Farmers on May 26th, 2017

Discuss this article at the Science & Technology Table inside the Diner

 


Now it's data that makes the world go round?

It's comfortably accepted by many that what we in the first-world countries currently live in is a post-industrial era, an era in which a transition has been made from manufacturing-based economies to service sector-based economies. But to put truth to the lie, "post-industrialism" is polite speak for "a gutted manufacturing sector whose jobs were offshored to countries where wages were lower, enacted so that deep pockets could be deepened and so that those whose employment existed in higher echelons than the offshored could gain access to cheaper products." *

But if you giddily follow along with the rags and raggees extolling the idea of "post-industrialism" then you couldn't be blamed for then thinking that what we've now entered is no less than the post-energy era. Because according to the article "The World's Most Valuable Resource is No Longer Oil, But Data" via none other than The Economist, "data [is] the oil of the digital era". And not just any data, but Big Data.

As the argument goes, the ubiquity of Internet-connected devices – televisions, smartphones, self-driving-cars, smart… coffee makers… – is creating data in such enormous quantities that the five most valuable listed companies in the world – Alphabet (parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft – are all utilizing it in order to entrench their grip on the consumerism-indulgent masses. With even General Electric and Siemens now selling themselves as data firms, and estimates being made that self-driving cars will eventually generate 100 GB of data per second (!?), the assumption is that all this data will empower artificial intelligence (AI) and all its algorithms to "extract more value from data", allowing for such things as the ability to predict when a customer is ready to make a purchase.

The root of this data-as-oil correlation is of course the ECON 101 way of thinking which posits that oil and other energy sources are nothing but mere commodities like anything else. As The Economist also states, while "a century ago the resource in question was oil", the black goo has since been supplanted by "a new commodity" – data. Oil, in effect, is nothing but a resource – a commodity – that ultimately serves no different purpose than zeroes and ones. And with Big Data being the commodity du jour, it should be of little surprise then that the masters of the universe have decided to maximize their "earnings" by not creating a bubble out of it but rather a pyramid scheme:

Technology giants have always benefited from network effects: the more users Facebook signs up, the more attractive signing up becomes for others.

But while pyramid schemes on the scale of Facebook are nothing to scoff at, what the economist's economists at The Economist have also come up with is on par with what only the maddest of mad scientists are capable of: A perpetual data machine.

With data there are extra network effects. By collecting more data, a firm has more scope to improve its products, which attracts more users, generating even more data, and so on.

And so on!


Could the next generation of Elon Musk's Teslas no longer require energy for propulsion
but instead run on nothing but highly refined, pure data itself? (photo by Maurizio Pesce)

While nations used to judge themselves against such things as the size of their armies and the reach of their nuclear arsenal, the latest unit of measurement nations now seem to judge themselves against is, How big is your Big Data?

So as to not be outdone by the West's charlatan (The Economist again: "The more data Tesla gathers from its self-driving cars…"), the East has unleashed its own charlatan in the form of Jack Ma – Chief Thief of Alibaba, the online retailer which in 2014 became the record holder for the largest IPO in history. As stated by Ma at the Big Data Expo 2015 in Guiyang, China,

未来的制造业要的不是石油,未来的制造业它最大的能源是数据.

My Chinese is unfortunately a bit rusty, so as the translation by a Chinese friend of mine goes, "What the future manufacturing needs in order to go forward is not oil but data." (Although it doesn't provide a direct quote, if you don't trust my friend's translation then you can read a summary of Ma's statement in English here.)

This would be the same Jack Ma who was here in Melbourne back in February proclaiming to an audience at the opening of the first Australian and New Zealand branch of Alibaba that "Australia is a gold mine. The next gold mine". The big gold rushes of actual gold are of course over, as are the oil rushes, the fracking rushes, and so forth. And with the next big thing being Big Data, this implies that even something like a Bitcoin rush would be much too tangible for our sages of the digital era, because the new "gold mine" that Ma envisions is, quite literally, air: "[T]he air, this is what you have, the most unique asset."

The article conveying Ma's vision doesn't relay how exactly a… piece?… of air gets valued (New Zealand already uses Alibaba to sell air to China), but one would imagine it has something to do with the cost of the vessels that the air is… inserted into, or perhaps the labour costs associated with taping up what are still known amongst traditionalists as "empty boxes". For all we know Ma is ready to capitalize on the "empty" shipping containers returning to China after having dropped off all their sweatshop-labour junk in Australia, which on their return unload their "cargo" – "fresh Australian air".

That's not to belittle the tragic fact that China does in fact have serious problems with air pollution (its so-called "airpocalypse"), problems that to a certain extent are due to the previously mentioned "post-industrialism" of the West. Because not only were many of the Wests's manufacturing industries offshored, but so was the associated pollution. This is the underlying reason (or at least one of them) behind Ma's preoccupation with air, Ma stating that, "A lot of [Chinese] people see the product as a supplement to clean their lungs out with fresh Australian air". That beins so, there's so far been no word on whether or not Alibaba warms up the imported air before selling it.


The East's Jack Ma, in competition with the West's Elon Musk to see who can sell the most hot air

Returning to the issue of the perpetual data machine, The Economist ponders over whether those controlling Big Data are getting too… big…, bringing in the idea of "antitrust remedies". As it states,

The nature of data makes the antitrust remedies of the past less useful… A radical rethink is required — and as the outlines of a new approach start to become apparent, two ideas stand out. The first is that antitrust authorities need to move from the industrial era into the 21st century.

On and on it goes, but I think that perhaps a more pertinent thing to ponder over is, Since governments (rightly) no longer accept patents for perpetual motion machines, should governments be allowing for the existence of companies that are selling themselves on — and getting valuated upon — the size of what are effectively their perpetual data machines?

That, of course, isn't likely to be considered anytime soon, but what will likely continue to get bandied about are stories about the oh-so-nasty Chinese spying on Americans, and stories about the oh-so-nasty Americans spying on Chinese.

And while issues like Net Neutrality should certainly be taken seriously alongside the privacy issues surrounding all this (big) data collection, one should also be careful to realize that contrary to popular belief, the Internet, Big Data, and all the rest of it are but passing phenomena, implying that perhaps we shouldn't be getting too carried away by sniffing too much of Musk's and Ma's (hot) air.


(photo by Jeremy Keith)

* One result of all that is that those in the higher echelons who like stuff (or bigger bank accounts, more exotic vacations, etc.) are emboldened to vote for the offshorers, while the "downsized" and others gravitate towards the people promising to adjust policies in order to revive gutted communities. But when the "offshorer" steals the (undemocratic) Democratic primary from the "adjuster", the "downsized" then gravitate towards the fake "adjuster" for a slew of reasons. The fake "adjuster" then gets denigrated by the "offshorer" and its acolytes, said acolytes not realizing that the fake "adjuster" is not the core problem but rather a symptom. But that, of course, is another story altogether.

One Response to Move Over Perpetual Motion Machines, There’s Now a Perpetual Data Machine – Big Data!

  • Davebee says:

    I think it's round about now that the new world currency makes its appearance: I give you, BUTTCOIN.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner
Search the Diner
Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D
Archives
Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

The Rain from Isaias is now falling Mainly on Surly.  Got Kayak?RE

It.s a Hurricane.  Officially.  Landfall near LD in SC.REhttps://www.npr.org/2020/08/03/898620721/tropical-storm-isaias-expected...

Storm surge is going to slam Surly in Norfolk.RE[embed=1111,666]

"No Silver Bullet".The virus is too much like the Flu.  You'll see it reappear every year, with some mutations.  Kiss goodbye BAU until it wipes out at least 1/4 of the Global Population, which is the Biblical Standard for the 4 Horsemen of the Apocal...

Recent Facebook Posts

No recent Facebook posts to show

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

Akash Goel is an assistant professor of medicine a [...]

Sanofi said it has filed a legal challenge to the [...]

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Late in March, Laura Gross, 7 [...]

A man sunbathes at Talamanca beach in Ibiza on Jul [...]

Diner Newz Feeds
  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

Doomstead Diner Daily July 17The Diner Daily is av [...]

Doomstead Diner Daily July 16The Diner Daily is av [...]

The point being to wear down the "precariat [...]

Quote from: UnhingedBecauseLucid on March 18, 2019 [...]

CleanTechnicaSupport CleanTechnica’s work via dona [...]

QuoteThe FACT that the current incredibly STUPID e [...]

Akash Goel is an assistant professor of medicine a [...]

Sanofi said it has filed a legal challenge to the [...]

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Late in March, Laura Gross, 7 [...]

A man sunbathes at Talamanca beach in Ibiza on Jul [...]

Quote from: K-Dog on February 24, 2020, 06:23:52 P [...]

I wonder how much these coins have been debased? [...]

Precious tip of the day.....Buy silver NOW  She [...]

Scientists have unlocked the power of gold atoms b [...]

Quote from: azozeo on August 14, 2019, 10:41:33 AM [...]

I am OUT of Jury Service!  I got summoned to be a [...]

Quote from: Eddie on May 16, 2020, 10:30:30 AMQuot [...]

Quote from: RE on May 16, 2020, 08:20:06 AMQuote f [...]

Quote from: RE on May 16, 2020, 08:20:06 AMQuote f [...]

Alternate Perspectives
  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

The Flim-Flam Men by Cognitive Dissonance   I suspect if average Joe or Jane were asked to identify [...]

The Coming War With China Re-posted from CaitlinJohnstone.com   (Have you noticed that (suddenly) Ch [...]

Papers Please! By Cognitive Dissonance     For those who may not know, Mrs. Cog and I live in the mo [...]

Lies, Damn Lies and Coronavirus Statistics By Cognitive Dissonance     “Never believe anything in po [...]

The Decline and Fall of Civil Society Chapter One By Cognitive Dissonance     From my perspective at [...]

Event Update For 2020-08-01http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.htmlThe [...]

2020 - JUL - Spotlight StoriesCategory: Variety Pack2020-07-01 - Hundreds of elephants mysteriously dying, mostly around waterhole [...]

2020 - Swimming Pool Deaths2020-08-01 - Man, 69, dies after being pulled unconscious from swimming pool at home on King Ban Dri [...]

In other words, treat COVID-19 like a dry-run for the upcoming "big one" [...]

However don't expect strikes and yellow vests to fix underlying problems [...]

So how many more times are we going to hear that this is our last chance to take action in order to [...]

This is definitely not a bona fide post [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability
  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

The Great Pause Week 20: Coronation Part I"With the number of Covid patients closing in on 20 million, epidemiologists hope the virus has [...]

"Your future is a story you were told, like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy."Thirty years a [...]

The Great Pause Week 18: Midwinter Down Under"Our objectives are low-tech, anti-fragile, and human-centered. By using tools of permaculture [...]

The Great Pause Week 17: Toppling Mount Rushmore"We are being schooled in the deficiencies of human neurobiology."President Cobblepot and [...]

The Great Pause Week 16: Cash Bounties for Scalps"The word “redskin” has been coined to refer to these trophies."Paris, June 15, 1756. Anti [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

What extinction crisis? Believe it or not, there are still climate science deniers out there. And th [...]

My new book, Abolish Oil Now, will talk about why the climate movement has failed and what we can do [...]

A new climate protest movement out of the UK has taken Europe by storm and made governments sit down [...]

The success of Apollo 11 flipped the American public from skeptics to fans. The climate movement nee [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Top Commentariats
  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

THANK YOU Ed, Gail and Xabier for your well wishes I really appreciated them I now have had the test [...]

In reply to Tim Groves. but okay, we all filter information through our minds in imperfect ways, so [...]

In reply to Lidia17. These teachers may be protesting themselves out of a future career. Remember Ro [...]

In reply to Robert Firth. Anne of Cleves may have been a bloke, Robert. Henry and Anne never consumm [...]

In reply to Tim Groves. new PC... cool. it must be... bAU tonight, baby! [...]

Steve seeing as how this is reante's fourth in a row, lemme know if I'm posting up too muc [...]

Hey Steve what do you think if the idea that the 1K/mo digital UBI for US citizens 18 and older (plu [...]

Who was it who used to argue here years ago about how much fat could be cut from the system? Was it [...]

Independent to me means non-commercial. They may sell half or full beefs and five or ten ton of hay [...]

Independent producers? Capitalism will make short work of them just as they did of all of the family [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction
Useful Links
Technical Journals

This study was designed to identify trends in maximum, minimum, and average air temperatures in the [...]

Cultural sites are particularly important to Indigenous peoples, their identity, cosmology and socio [...]

Globally, subtropical circulation in the lower troposphere is characterized by anticyclones over the [...]

Numerical models are being used for the simulation of recent climate conditions as well as future pr [...]

Follow on our http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/