The Dominance of Data Ownership in the Upcoming Tech Revolution

The convergence of Big Tech, finance, and government has enabled a new data economy. The first movement in the megacycle was the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when the EU championed data privacy in 2016. Brazil stepped up and created comparative data privacy rights and is investing heavily in data infrastructure and regulation to enable citizens to capitalize on their personal data. Data privacy will evolve into data ownership rights in 2024Our data could power an entirely new data economy that could benefit every person who participates in it or not, based on their decision-making. The next tech megacycle — one in which everyday citizens worldwide own and control their personal data that powers AI — began about a year before the global COVID pandemic.

It’s no surprise that Brazil is at the forefront of the next megacycle in technology. The region’s tech ecosystem has seen significant growth and development since 2012, resulting in a surge of legislative reforms, technological innovation, and a rise in global investments.

Following the age-old adage of “follow the money,” previous technology shifts, including computing, telephony, internet, and mobile advancements, have all been accompanied by the evolution of advanced payment methods that have allowed businesses and consumers alike to capitalize on these developments. As the world moves towards a data-driven society, with data as the fuel for training AI, the convergence of Big Tech, finance, and government has given rise to a new data economy.

While AI may be seen as the next big thing, it’s only part of the story. Data is the “oil” that powers AI. The first movement in this megacycle was in 2016 when the EU introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), championing data privacy. Brazil followed suit, enacting comparable data privacy rights and making significant investments in data infrastructure and regulation, allowing citizens to reap the benefits of their personal data.

The majority of investments in AI, totaling billions of dollars, have come from tech giants such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. However, a significant portion of this money is being returned to these corporate investors through charges for access to their costly cloud platforms.

But there is a looming challenge for Big Tech companies and other industries, from biotech and healthcare innovators to large banks, well-known brands, and even governments. The mostly free access to our collective personal data will likely come to an end by the late 2020s. This data, which fuels our AI systems, is being produced in masses and needs to be monetized, monitored, and curated.

However, a new data-sharing system that distributes ownership and control of this mission-critical data to everyday citizens could pave the way for startups to innovate. Our personal data could become the driving force behind an entirely new data economy, benefiting all participants, regardless of their decision to partake in it or not.

In short, the unrestricted use of personal data is coming to an end, marking the beginning of the next megacycle.

Data privacy will evolve into data ownership rights in 2024

As we move into the next tech megacycle, ordinary citizens worldwide will have ownership and control over their personal data, which powers AI. This shift began before the global pandemic, with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s essay in Time magazine in early 2019, calling for significant reforms to protect and empower consumers. The tech giant has also committed to more sustainable business practices by 2030, aiming to align its brand with a clear and compelling social responsibility.

Cook stated, “In 2019, it’s time to stand up for the right to privacy – yours, mine, all of ours. Consumers shouldn’t have to tolerate another year of companies irresponsibly amassing huge user profiles, data breaches that seem out of control, and the vanishing ability to control our digital lives.”

Since then, more data privacy regulations have been introduced, and the ability to track consumers’ shopping habits and preferences has diminished. Forward-thinking leaders, like California governor Gavin Newsom, have proposed various forms of a “new data dividend,” allowing everyday citizens to receive value or monetary compensation for their data, which they can then trade with different organizations.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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