Global Agenda Council on Data-Driven Development 2012-2013
Connectivity is redefining social dynamics. With more than 6 billion people and tens of billions of devices connected to the networked economy, digital hyperconnectivity is transforming the socio-economic landscape, on both an individual and organizational level. It has produced a flood of transactional data – so-called “big data” – estimated at 2.5 quintillion bytes per day. In the developing world, people use mobile devices for day-to-day activities; when aggregated, the signals they generate tell compelling stories. Data can be used to identify needs, provide services, and predict and prevent crises among low-income populations. Once analysed, they provide a tool to understand changes in a population’s well-being, in real time. In short, big data is key to the global economy because it can be used to benefit developing societies.
The world is in flux and business models are struggling to catch up. Demand is outstripping supply and a disconnect exists between sources of revenue and sources of cost. With the number and character of mobile devices also changing, ubiquitous computing is becoming embedded throughout society. Together, these are transforming investment needs with untapped avenues emerging to offer investment opportunities.
Concerted action is needed by governments, development organizations and companies to establish more user-centric, reliable, transparent and accountable socio-economic systems. In addition to investment in core infrastructure, this will require policies and regulations that encourage competition and innovation, including relevant principles, models and tools. These also need to take account of the challenges inherent among the different stakeholder groups:
- Individuals, frustrated by a lack of transparency and control over the use and commercialization of personal data
- Businesses, uncertain of legal liabilities and seeking to adjust to the realities of vast, real-time, multilayered data
- Governments, struggling to establish harmonized legal frameworks, safeguards and compliance mechanisms that keep pace with the speed and complexity of data production
- By 2013, annual global Internet traffic is predicted to reach 667 exabytes (one exabyte is equivalent to one quintillion bytes). Internet video alone is expected to generate over 18 exabytes a month by 2013.
- The mobile phone is one of the most prolific signalling devices on earth: over 5 billion mobile phones are in circulation, including 4 billion in developing countries.
- During 2011, more data was generated than mankind has produced since the beginning of history.
“Data-driven development represents an opportunity to transcend observational science, enabling us not only to learn more about the underlying dynamics driving behaviour, but to be able to use these insights to design better mechanisms, better systems, better tools that can improve the lives of these billions of people generating this data and the societies in which they live. Rather than the passive, observational roles that scientists have played in these other fields, there is an opportunity to take an active role – not collecting data – but designing more appropriate interventions.”
Nathan Eagle, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Jana
“We must accelerate and integrate efforts to frame the dynamics of the new personal data ecosystem—and the good news is that a shared set of principles, models on rights and duties and personal data rights language are all in development. The issue is to ensure these are architected into a coherent plan to drive trust, opportunity and growth.”
Robert Quinn, Senior Vice-President, Federal Regulatory Authority and Chief Privacy Officer, AT&T, USA
Big Data, Big Impact: New Possibilities for International Development
Big Data for Development: Opportunities and Challenges
Big Data for Social Good, Harvard School of Public Health
Rethinking Personal Data: Strengthening Trust
Personal Data: A New Asset Class
O’Reilly Strata Conference
23-25 October 2012
New York, USA
New Digital Economics – Digital Arabia
6-7 November 2012
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
New Digital Economics – Digital Asia
3-5 December 2012
ITU World Conference on International Telecommunications
3-14 December 2012
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Big Data Summit
London, United Kingdom
The Global Agenda Council on Data-Driven Development starts from the key assumption that the world is now “hyperconnected”: not merely that there are billions of devices, but also that the data sets involved are extremely large – they are commonly described as “big data”. The Council believes that this data can be used to create more equitable and open socio-economic structures, notably in developing societies. As electronic signals can be collected and analysed more quickly than survey responses, they can be used to track trends and identify problems faster, and in a targeted manner. It is these insights that the Council hopes to focus on and tap into.
More specifically, the Council aims to improve common understanding and develop an evidence base of big data, with the long-term objective of establishing tools and frameworks to drive socio-economic growth. This is a rapidly changing field; the Council has been designed to be flexible so as to respond to changes in this field. In particular, the Council hopes to shift the dialogue to learning-lab models, as part of efforts to promote an understanding of the different relationships in the field of data.
The Council feeds into the World Economic Forum’s Rethinking Personal Data project. This project has three overall objectives. First, to produce a set of shared principles for the trusted flow of personal data; second, to develop a better evidence base for the economic and social impacts of personal data; and, finally, to support and encourage the development of a “test and learn” environment related to personal data. For more information, see www.weforum.org/personaldata.
Research Analyst: Stefan Hall, Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Manager: William Hoffman, Associate Director, Telecommunications Industry, email@example.com
Forum Lead: Alan Marcus, Senior Director, Head of Information Technology and Telecommunications Industries, firstname.lastname@example.org