How New Trends in Data Are Dramatically Changing the World As We Know It

At CompTIA’s 2016 National State Government Affairs (SGA) and State and Local Government and Education (SLED) meeting, held November 15 to 16 in Nashville, Justin Massa, Director of Business Strategy, IDEO, gave a unique presentation titled, “When Robocops Rule the Earth: The Future of Human-Centered Data.” To kick off his discussion about artificial intelligence use in our daily lives, Massa pointed to his use of Google Photos to manage pictures, and the intense and powerful image analysis happening on the platform’s back-end. Google Photo’s impressive A.I.  shows  him photos from past vacations, photos  of loved ones who have passed – all have made him cry, laugh and reminisce. “Google Photo’s assistant feature has moved from being a simple utility to becoming an almost daily extension of my emotions and memory.” 


According to Massa, three large trends in data have begun to dramatically change our world. First, there is more data than there has ever been before. Second, data is now more than ever cheaper to store. The third major trend is that the advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence are accelerating, creating new technical feasibilities on an almost daily basis. “We’re on the cusp of a world where human and machine are natural, seamless and meaningful extensions of one another, a world that has both incredible promise and incredible danger,” he said.

Massa stressed the most powerful thing that one can do with data is use it to change the future. He believes that moving from predicting the future to changing the future is an act of design. “What we’re talking about here are adaptive, intelligent systems that are evolving over time without constant human intervention,” he said. “The outputs of these systems change human behavior, but the ways in which they change behavior are adapting and improving without human intervention.”

In closing, Massa asserted that opportunity arises from design thinking and data science. He further added that it’s time to move from just predicting the future to changing the future, and the best way to do that is through taking a human-centered view of both what data we care about and how we craft data-driven interventions.

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