September 17th, 2008 by rbanks
Really enjoyed this Kevin Kelly article about the value of keeping data about use (or as he put it – “metering” use). I’ve been thinking about this more in the context of energy consumption, particularly through devices like the Wattson, but it’s interesting to think about the broader consequences of tracking use, and its value.
“Imagine a world were any set of historical data was available to you. Everyone has their own favorite data stream from history they would love to have. Such a trove would transform our lives. For that reason, monitoring everything will become commonplace. Cheaply metering data, in fact, is what propels the free economy. Metering is a type of attention. Products and services will be given away in exchange for the meta data about their use. Data about the free is now more valuable than the free thing itself.
Google and web 2.0 companies realize this. They meter everything they can because the data about things is more valuable than the thing itself. They buy and sell attention (a type of meta data) to the thing. One could make the argument that value derived from metering is what permits the freeconomy. Because so much is cheaply metered, we have an abundance of free.”