Did you ever think of yourself as oil? Or, as the new oil? I never did.

I never imagined myself as bubbling crude or any other kind for that matter.


Yet, that’s what I’ve just been told: I am the new oil. No kidding!

You are too.


You see, according to Dirk Helbing in his wonderfully illuminating and remarkably erudite essay featured on, businesses are buzzing about the new oil, otherwise known as personal data.


You know what that is. It’s all that information about ourselves that we post on Facebook, and Twitter and other social media.


Dirk says all this personal data stuff is like a “new gold rush.”

Yippee! Everyone loves gold! Everyone loves a rush!


Dirk goes into great detail about this new state of affairs, which he claims will be dominated by something called “Big Data.” In the next ten years alone, he predicts we will produce as many data, or even more data, than in the past 1,000 years! Phew!


He goes on to mention other important things, such as how some people feel we don’t need privacy in society (but that’s not necessarily his personal point of view) and how there are potential hazards to mismanaged data. He even mentions something about crowds, natural disasters, and data. However, I think I need to reread this a few times until it really sinks in.


Dirk also stresses this important point: “Our future information society will be characterized by computers that behave like humans in many respects.” Although I can’t help but feel that he’s being a wee bit ironic here. After all, so many people I know already behave remarkably like Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey.


That detail aside, overall, human characteristics will be hot, hot, hot stuff, says Dirk. As he explains: “If we would learn how to stabilize trust, or build trust, that would be worth a lot of money, really.”




Oh, heck, I suppose in Dirk’s crazy world, everything is destined to become a commodity.


Oops, I forgot. It already is!

We are all already oil.


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