The next big conflict may be fought over something other than land or raw materials, according to Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google parent company Alphabet. In a speech yesterday at the Google Cloud Next Conference, he said: “I think big data is so powerful that nation states will fight over how much data matters.” He added: “He who has the data can do the analytics and the algorithms at the scale that we talked about will provide huge nation state benefits, in terms of global companies and benefits for their citizens, and so on.”
By now, no one is in the dark as to just how vital of a resource data can be. In fact, silent data wars are already being waged beneath the surface between some of the world’s great powers.
Data holds incredible value, obviously, and its use is expanding in all ways and means, especially in the public sector. This is evident not only by Schmidt’s comments, but by the proliferation of available technology offerings that target organizations outside the business sector. Enterprise companies have been fighting these wars for decades, clawing their way to any competitive edge that data could provide. If politics is truly downstream from culture, Big Data’s next battleground is seemingly going to take place in the geopolitical arena.
This is serious business, and it’s anyone’s best guess as to whether data’s next hurrah is predicting the outcome of a hotly contested democratic election or something even more sinister. In a 1949 interview with Alfred Werner, Albert Einstein was quoted as saying: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Perhaps the weapon Einstein failed to articulate was Big Data.
We encourage you to watch Eric Schmidt’s full keynote.
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