Big Data badly needs a sous chef. Someone to come in and prepare all the vegetables and meats so that the head chef can cook with ease. In this case, the only potential sous chefs are Google, Facebook, and Amazon, since they have all the ingredients (data). They can help other companies by creating Big Data as a Service, essentially letting them buy/rent their prepared ingredients.
What’s wrong with Big Data right now?
There are dozens of Machine Learning startups building AI algorithms that’ll tackle some of Society’s biggest problems. Some of them aim to eliminate the error involved in judging cancerous tumors, others want to improve personalized medicine, and one even wants farmers to have the power of AI.
But, they all are experiencing one big problem: they lack access to the right data.
Artificial Intelligence learns from data that is labeled and organized. No different than how libraries make it easier for people to access knowledge, AI needs clean libraries of data for it to easily sift through and learn from. They need someone to prepare the ingredients to feed their AI.
Why can’t these companies gather the data themselves?
First, merely accessing the needed data is very difficult. In the grand scheme of things, companies which raise $800 million have very little data. Otherwise, they can broker a major data-licensing deal with Google, Facebook, and Amazon. However, for the majority of startups (two people with a dream) these options are out of the question.
Now let’s say a company does get access to the amounts of data their AI needs, then they run into the second problem.
Storing and managing large quantities of information requires an ongoing investment of time and resources, equal to or greater than that of actually collecting the data. Researchers often find themselves spending more time managing the data, than actually using it.
Big Data as a Service can solve these problems
The logical solution is for Google, Facebook, and Amazon to allow companies to rent their data. Instead of brokering one-off data deals, they could provide data to the masses at once.
No different than how Amazon rents Cloud storage, companies could rent out specific datasets which they’ve already used – allowing other startups to gain traction.
The datasets would range from general to niche. The same way a sous chef chops a whole bag of onions knowing they will be used for various purposes, Facebook could prepare a general dataset that helps AI learn all faces. The same way a sous chef breads 60 chicken filets for the chef’s special that night, Google could prepare a niche dataset that helps AI learn natural human language patterns.
Obviously, since a lot of this data is PII (Personally Identifiable Information), they need to handle it with the utmost security. Nonetheless, I’m confident there are enough data scientists and security engineers to build the proper infrastructure, allowing Big Data as a Service to flourish.
I know what you’re thinking. Why would these companies help future competitors?
One, Big Data as a Service would be profitable
If someone told you that you could make money by renting out your used tissues, wouldn’t you do it? Google, Facebook, and Amazon have idle data. They could easily repackage and rent that data at any price range.
Plus, Google, Facebook, and Amazon can only bring so many problems in-house to solve. To provide opportunities to hundreds of startups would accelerate innovation drastically.
Not to mention, it makes the acquisition process much smoother. Since Google, Facebook, or Amazon would already understand the technical infrastructure of a company’s AI, they could easily acquire the company with little friction.
Two, it’s just the right thing to do…
It’s very easy to get caught up in doing things “my way”, achieving “my dreams”, and wanting others to help ME. That’s our default setting. We are programmed that way.
But, getting out of this mindset and possessing the humility to help someone else achieve their goals will take you far. Commonly, this goes against the Type A personalities that climb the ranks in many industries. And it seems as though the mindset of demanding what you deserve in life is so often rewarded.
But, what kind of a reward is it to be financially successful with no one to share it with? To have ignored those around you that sought your guidance and soiled those relationships.
If you want to become a millionaire in life, help a million people.
It’s lonely at the top if you don’t humble your ambitions and help others achieve their visions. Finding joy in seeing someone else achieve their dreams is a reward in itself.
That’s one of the main reasons I write these weekly Quick Theories articles – there are thousands of brilliant people that don’t have time to dig in and learn these difficult technology concepts (you might be one of them). Through Quick Theories, I want people to find inspiration for their next idea in the technology of the future.
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