Consumers today are knowingly and unknowingly providing businesses with more data than they've ever been capable of collecting before. Internet entrepreneurs, privacy analysts, and business consultants alike believe that for the next fifty years, capitalism around the world will (for better or worse) be focused on sussing out what all this data actually means.
Our growing use of digital technology is creating so much "data exhaust," as industry insiders call it, that entire economies are and will continue to form purely around the collection, preservation, protection, implementation, and -- most importantly -- understanding of our data.
No one knows how long it will take before businesses begin implementing the kinds of complex feedback systems that biologists see in nature, but for now one thing is for certain: the world is sitting at the foot of what will continue to be an unfathomable mountain of data with the potential to profoundly revolutionize much more than just the way that businesses target us with pesky advertisements. There is already so much data, in fact, that the very thought of beginning to mold it into useful information is enough to make one throw their hands up in the air and give up.