Datafication: A New Wave in The Technological World
Emerging as a significant trend in technology, ‘datafication’ has become a buzzword and revolutionised numerous aspects of our existence in profound ways.
Technologists Kenneth Cukier and Viktor Mayer-Schönberger first presented the concept to the mainstream in 2013. Yet, over the years, it has evolved from merely the analytical depiction of our lives through data to something more complex and impactful.
Today, datafication stands at the helm of the big data explosion and the predictive analytical possibilities it brings, rapidly transforming how we comprehend our surroundings and interact with the world.
One might associate datafication with digitisation due to their striking similarities, a common mistake made by many. But they are two very distinct concepts.
Digitisation converts analogue content, like books, films, and photographs, into a digital format that computers can easily interpret. However, datafication encompasses a much wider spectrum. It transforms every element of life into data, allowing us to repurpose information and unlock new forms of value from it.
The Core Ideology of Datafication: Dataism
Delving into the essence of datafication, it is rooted in an ideology known as ‘dataism’. This system of belief endorses the idea that data holds the potential to represent social life more accurately and objectively than any human interpretation can.
This unwavering faith in the power of data to map a precise representation of our world fuels the drive towards ratification.
Datafication at Work: Diverse Applications Across Various Sectors
Datafication is not merely a concept; it finds its practical application spreading across diverse sectors like wildfire. Social media platforms such as Twitter have incorporated datafication to capture human thoughts, transforming mere stray snippets into valuable insights.
LinkedIn, a professional networking platform, has denounced traditional personality tests for potential employees, replacing them with data-driven insights made available by ratification.
Industries like insurance and banking are employing datafication to evaluate an individual’s risk profile and determining their likelihood of repaying a loan, heralding a revolution in underwriting.
Similarly, customer relationship management has been given a new veneer due to datafication, with companies leveraging data from emails, phone calls, and social media interactions to better understand their customers’ personalities and behaviour patterns.
The Ubiquitous Impact of Datafication
Datafication’s influence extends beyond individual industries and is metamorphosing whole cities into ‘smart cities’, which utilise data to optimise everything from transportation and waste management to logistics and energy consumption.
A case in point is Amsterdam, where the city has installed upgraded street lamps that adjust their brightness based on pedestrian footfall data.
Sensors across the city collect real-time data, paving the way for proactive problem-solving measures. Thanks to datafication, commuters can dodge traffic jams, cities can monitor pollution levels, and implement new environmental measures based on accurate, up-to-date data.
Datafication: Shaping the Future
Datafication is set to change more than simply the technology landscape; it represents a paradigm shift in how we perceive and use information. From transforming business operations and city management to reshaping how we understand ourselves, the effect of datafication is ubiquitous.
The promise of continuing to ‘datafy’ various aspects of our lives only hints at more innovative applications and transformative impact in the future.
Datafication is a potent tool that harnesses the potential of vast data masses to translate all aspects of life into valuable insights.
As we continue to embrace this digital revolution, the possibilities for understanding and interacting with the world are endless.
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