Internet is the New Frontier
During the ages, man has conquered and plundered since the beginning of time. And we have maxed out on our places on earth to plunder. We dabbled in space, which is cost prohibitive during financial times of duress, so we created a new, vast, controllable landscape to fill our time, known as the internet.
The internet is a network of connected routers and switches. It's similar to an invisible river which flows everywhere, a current. Except you must enter through an entry point, a guarded access way. And you must pay the toll to get across the mote. And after you cross, all your surfing is monitored and maintained by applications like Carnivore, later replaced by Narus Insight. They read every packet which crosses the internet, in the name of security. There is no 'anonymous' surfing, everything can be traced back to it's owner. We really do surf in glass houses.
The other thing to remember, there's no 'free' surfing. You must pay the piper to gain entry. So the internet has simply become another regulated commodity. And at the moment, you basically pay a monthly subscription which grants you limited or open end access to surf at your leisure.
There is no charge to use Google, Bing, Yahoo, which opens the doorway to unlimited knowledge. The downside was originally pop-up adds which morphed into 'data mining' where you surfing habits have been digitized and maintained to become the product which they sell. And similar to credit reports, there are now Social Reports which contain your social habits, your financial records, you entire history. These giant search engines know more about you than your closest friends. That's all fine and good. If you agree to the terms and conditions, that you will be under surveillance and your every action will be monitored and scrutinized and your data will be stored indefinitely.
Now what about this. Now that the entire human legacy has been digitized, who's to say that some of that information can be suppressed or have the facts changed to meet the needs of those in charge. You know, leave out some information here, pepper some here, presto, an entire new history documented as the source of record. Sure gets rid of the need to burn books.
And speaking of books, I know from my own experience that I read more on the internet now that I ever did. I haven't purchased a book in a decade, give or take an exception here or there. I always wanted to open a used book store, now what am I supposed to do, nobody reads books. However, I still have some good nuggets at the garage sales or flea market, except who has time to read them. I suppose I could always open a used electronic book store, just kidding.
So now that we have this vast new territory to explore and conquer, we sure have tons of data. And that data must be organized, processed, interpreted and synthesized. Which let to the explosion of the Data Professional. I happen to be one since the mid 1990s back when nobody was concerned about data. And I've seen everyone and their brother enter this market looking for some big bucks, which there are. I'm thankful that I landed in the a great space professionally as this market is only going to grow over the next decade. Where's it heading? Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Smart Computers, automation of many jobs. And into a digital, global network where everyone is monitored in search of patterns, predictability and behavior. Some say heaven on earth, some say a future hell on earth.
Time will tell.