A far-reaching effect of Covid19 will be the acceleration of the adoption of the Internet-Of-Things. Addition of billions of things connected to the net will lead to an explosion of Big Data. This torrent will lead to, in time, perhaps to Big Data becoming a public utility. The Big Data will be stripped names and other privacy-invading features — anonymised in industry parlance — according to internationally agreed protocols.
Private players like Amazon and Google will build profitable businesses that provide access to this public data. They will charge for value-added services in terms of functional analysis. Proprietary AI engines will drive this unique analysis.
While legal Big Data as a public utility will have to be anonymised, black market services will come into being that hacking and strip away the anonymity.
Story-telling is the best way to make a point. So here is a vignette from the year 2044.
It was the “firecrackers” that jolted him from his reverie. It was the night of the 200th anniversary of VE Day.
2044 and they still wanted “firecrackers” to celebrate he mused. Virtual ones, of course. Just light and sound what with the strict carbon emission controls despite yearly protests by the MakeEarthGreatAgain party which averred that steeply falling atmospheric CO2 levels are making men impotent!
Well, it takes all kind, thought Holmes and with an inward shrug got back to his business of cogitation. Ten minutes into his train of thought turned a corner, and the startling new vista opened up.
“Hey, Alexa dig this. Let us see if we can buy the chemical analysis of washing machine residues from GooglePlex for the night of April 12th this year for Central London.”
“Hi, Sherlock. A new train of thought heh? Give a sec as I get a quote. Here it is. Data field size 1,10,006 machines. The number of chemical residues identified is 7403. Cost of anonymised data — 10,000 Universal Credits. Broken by six geographic clusters — 14,000 UCs.”
“Damn thieves! Guess the client can afford it. Buy the geographic clusters and look for a residue from a machine that contained both Botulinum and Ricin.”
“Bingo Mr Homes — cluster six — Ridgewood Heights — machine no. 63654”
“Hmm, Ridgewood Heights. Our list of four suspects. None of them has a home in Ridgewood Heights. A hideaway? A mistress. Damn the Sexton Act, or I would have got a warrant for GooglePlex to reveal the machine location. Alexa, please switch to Dr Alexa mode.”
“Dr Alexa here, Mr Holmes.”
“Hello, Dr Alexa. Switch to dark mode and see if you can buy the address of machine no. 63654 from one of our crawler friends.”
“On it. Hmm, IndiaRani can do, but the price is 19000 bitcoins.”
Sherlock whistles. This price blows the budget. The client will blow a fuse, he thought. But then this could crack the case.
“Buy it, Dr Alexa But tell Rani that she is getting greedier by the day.”
Rani will take time thought Sherlock. A day maybe. Rani is careful, and that takes time and subterfuge. Damn these Indians, They now own the black data market and make hay. The inherent subtlety of the Indian mind finally winning monetary rewards. He sighed and looked around for his pipe. Must replenish the mescaline he thought as he reclined back and got aboard another train of thought.
PS: And as Artificial Intelligence progresses to General Intelligence by the 2050s, can one imagine a Mr Holmes who is an advanced AI entity with a built-in Dr Alexa