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The Future of Data

FlowingData, one of my favourite blogs, just featured an entry focusing on how data will be organized in the future.

If there’s anything uniform across all the ideas, it’s ubiquity. In the future, computers won’t feel like computers, and data will not just flow alongside the physical world. Instead, data will intertwine with your day-to-day like threads in a fabric.

They come up with many examples, but I liked this one below the most. Imagine a totally transparent healthcare system in which you see all the relevant data about doctors, procedures, hospitals (success rates, costs), etc. You can really make a wise decision because you will know all the details and data you need.

Microsoft envisioned what 2019 would look like:

And here is a great talk from Minority Report science adviser and inventor John Underkoffler who presents g-speak – the real-life version of the film’s eye-popping, tai chi-meets-cyberspace computer interface.

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Tom van de Belt #

    Very nice post Berci!

    June 8, 2010
  2. I’m starting to get clear that the future of data is that it won’t look like data. Not linear looking, not structured looking, even though it is, in the background.

    Some of the visuals in the Microsoft montage reminded me of how Prezi destroys the “slideshow” paradigm for presentations, letting you roam the gestalt of a presentation non-sequentially. Here’s Amy Romano’s prezi from Health 2.0 in DC yesterday. See also the “Play video” button on Prezi’s home page.

    It’s all 1’s and 0’s in the background, but as you say here, there’s BIG change in how it will all be available to us. Can’t wait.

    June 8, 2010
  3. Berci,
    This is wonderfully intriguing, albeit scary. How do you envision this as helping patients?

    June 9, 2010
  4. I’ll reply to Elaine, uninvited :)… It’s hard to say exactly what form it will take, but I sense two answers.

    First, I’m amazed thinking of how different healthcare will be when all health data is somehow presented in something other than tabular form. We have a long way to go before we get there, because most of the data doesn’t exist yet in digital form, and I doubt today’s vendors will add that ability. (And if they do, it’ll probably be overpriced by 100:1, because they don’t know how to do anything else.) So I imagine new-wave vendors will develop something like this.

    Second, once we get to where the data is represented in increasingly realistic ways, willl it eliminate the need for some aspects of today’s medical training? Today, to be a physician, you need a strong ability to picture things that are invisible to most of us. (That’s partly because most of us never dissect a cadaver.) Will our self-awareness change when we basically have “Google Earth for my body“?

    This sort of question requires the level of thinking displayed in that TED talk.

    btw, how interesting that the devices in that Microsoft video look an awful lot like iPads. Coincidence?

    July 2, 2010

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