The Zero Dollar Car: How the Revolution in Big Data will Change Your Life

The Zero Dollar Car: How the Revolution in Big Data will Change Your Life

by John Ellis


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781988025254
Publisher: Barlow Publishing
Publication date: 11/10/2017
Pages: 184
Sales rank: 644,904
Product dimensions: 6.26(w) x 9.08(h) x 0.71(d)

Read an Excerpt

Is there any way to profit from our personal data? A few enterprising individuals have been trying. The London- based CitizenMe launched in 2014 to help average people take control of their personal data. Similar to the privacyx.comutility I discussed back in Chapter 1, the idea was to show consumers that the data they were sharing publicly on their various social media networks was being collected, analyzed, and used for pro t by others. As it turns out, that’s pretty complicated, and the app never broke through to a mass market. However, there was one very popular feature: a Facebook personality test. So, in 2016, the company partnered with the Universityof Sheffield’s Open Data Science Institute to reboot itself as a market research and big data analysis service, still driven by CitizenMe’s original principle: that personal data should work on behalf of users, not exploited by for-pro t corporations that don’t necessarily care about the rights of individual users. Another start-up, called Datacoup, described itself as a “personal data marketplace.” It’s a New York-based data- mining rm with an unusual twist: In exchange for pro- viding personal data, such as social media information and credit card information, individuals are paid a monthly fee of $8 U.S. Consumers received some compensation for their data and were also able to be specify which data, and how much, they shared through Datacoup. Returning to the Zero Dollar Car concept, some start-ups are helping the automakers—not individuals—monetize data. An Israeli firm called Otonomo connects carmakers and drivers with service providers, like dealerships, insur- ance companies, and even, theoretically, smart cities, to optimize the pro tability of all the data a vehicle is producing. And another Israeli start-up, Nexar, has developed a dashboard app using drivers’ smartphones that will, once enough people are using it, provide real-time, vehicle-to-vehicle information that could alert users to slowdowns ahead (so they can plan around them) or even an accident in the process of happening a few cars ahead(so drivers have a chance to react). That could be a valuable service for drivers, and it relieves automakers of a data-collecting function that’s time consuming and expensive. But, of course, Nexar’s system is old-school in one way: Once you sign up, your data is available to Nexar to sell to third parties. I believe some kind of system that allows individuals to have a share in monetizing their data is the way we need to go. If we, as consumers, don’t understand how much data we generate or how to measure it—if we don’t understand how it’s stored, processed, and used to drive profits—we lose. To win, we should be paid compensation for that data (the plan on which CitizenMe based its original idea) or receive a big reduction in the price of the product or service involved (the Zero Dollar Car model). Will individual consumers, like you or me, ever be able to monetize the sensors in our vehicle the way I outline in the Zero Dollar Car? Right now, it remains an opportunity waiting to happen. Google, Apple, and other corporations don’t want to do business that way. They prefer to do multimillion-dollar deals with brands. So the challenge for individuals is to truly understand that this world of data exists and that it only exists because their personal data is being transacted, often without their knowledge or permission. Once consumers understand that, they can begin to agitate for some kind of controlover their data, or even government involvement. What they should expect is a contract that outlines the precise dollar figure they will receive in return for their data. That’s why, in most of my engagements today, I educate clients on what I call the “big red button” business model. In essence, that is the ability, when you purchase or use any digitally enabled product or service, to opt in or opt out. With the opt-in choice, consumers pay less—“zero,” or at least a substantially reduced price—in exchange for their data. They have, essentially, bartered away their privacy. If instead they opt to hit the “big red button,” all of their data will be destroyed and non-recoverable, called “the right to be forgotten,” it’s a practice formally adopted in the European Union and Argentina), but they will pay full price in exchange for privacy. This business solution for building products will never happen until the “big red button”—which we could also think of as a way of turning privacy into a commodity, or the “right to be forgotten”—is enshrined in law and there is a regulatory body enforcing it.

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