The amount of information circulating every day and that is made easily available via smartphones has created an augmented reality that has in turn created a very different way of living at the beginning of the 21 Century. This information abundance is both a blessing and a curse. But innovation is creating new services previously unimagined such as aggregating the photos and videos shot by thousands at the same major event to create a better record of that event than any one of the people could create on their smartphone by themselves.
People can forget things now because it is so easy for technology to remind them later. The glory that was once credited to memory is stolen because technology makes a hero of everyone’s memory. People who can search and locate things stored in various clouds are far more productive than people who rely on their memory. Given the abundant availability of information as smartphones meet big data, how will innovation drive productivity?
Big data and our mistakes of the past
People say that they learn from mistakes but most people don’t. Memory tricks most of us in dealing with our mistakes. From our use of smartphones big data collects billions of digital artefacts. The texts we send, the photos we take and from where we take them is all scattered around the Internet. How can we build software applications that utilises these digital artefacts to help us to learn from our mistakes by highlighting patterns and delivering up the evidence so that we focus our time and attention on the most valuable options we have before us?
The massive amount of data that can be fed, extracted, circulated and evaluated using smartphones, allows big data to create algorithms that aid decision making at strategic levels by avoiding past mistakes and helps us to benefit from the more productive precedents.
The wisdom of crowds
As we use online calendars, to do lists and contacts, the wisdom of crowds could remind us that the last time we did what we are about to do it did not turn out well or when other people followed this particular path their project failed. Can the Wisdom of the Crowd help us as Amazon has helped us by pointing out that the people who previously have bought this book also bought these other books. Can the data from millions of people doing much the same things be shared to help each of us achieve more valuable outcomes; can LinkedIn monitor who we are dealing with on this current project and inform us that they have the connections, track record and capability to achieve our objective. We have until now had to make these decisions by ourselves or with the help of our mentor but in the emergent order, applications on smartphones connected to these technologies and data sets can use patterns and relationships to significantly improve our choices as to how we spend our time and allocate our precious resources.
How smart is a smartphone when it meets big data?
Innovative smartphone technology combined with big data is beginning to radically change business in many sectors such as healthcare, insurance, food and infrastructure. A cardiologist can now see the cardiogram of a patient who is sitting in a different part of the world on his smartphone. Eric Topol says that the technology (called airstrip technology) that allows a person to check all vital signs such as rhythm, blood pressure, oxygen etc. on the smartphone just like checking emails is already available.
Think about the GPS on your phone. It dynamically collects data as you travel and at the click of a button can guide you back home if you are lost. Maxwell Smart only used his shoe phone to talk to 99. How else can your mobile devices collect valuable data and turn it into valuable guidance to improve how we work, learn and live?
The human factor
The wise and conscientious will trump the smartest as machines augment human capacity. A combination of chess champions and a computer can still beat Watson on its own. With smartphone technology enabling access to all the needed data, Tyler Cowen predicts that a person who is successful in the future is not the one who knows more but the one who is conscientious enough to listen and complement the machine by asking the right questions. The person who is able to complement artificial intelligence through innovation and take advantage of current market trends to drive productivity will be the person who is best able to shape the future.