“The world in which we are born, is not the world in which we will live nor is that the world in which we will die”
Margaret Mead, 1970
The tireless Joe Brown already sang in 1962 about the crazy world we’re living in . Looking back on those years, and being aware of how quickly everything changes nowadays, maybe we would say to him ‘you know nothing, Joe Brown’ .
We feel that everything changes in a dizzying way, and what is worse, we feel that the speed of the changes is continuously accelerating. It’s not an illusion . Our society is build on a network of communication channels that stimulate the exchange and development of new ideas, which has led us to the third industrial revolution, also known as the digital revolution . While in the second industrial revolution the fuel was coal, in this new revolution the fuel is data.
In this accelerated and interconnected world, each of us generates huge volumes of data every day. We move daily for our activities and in this process we interact continuously with our environment, and all around us, all kinds of devices capturing and transferring information about us. And what economic benefit do we obtain by providing the fuel that makes possible the digital revolution? None at all.
Some will argue that the benefits obtained can not be quantified directly or that their value is so residual that it does not make sense to transmit it to the user. We partially agree with the first part, but totally disagree with the second.
It’s true that our data allows the development of new ideas, research and tools that directly or indirectly benefit us, but is it ethical to use our private data without our consent? Sincerely, we want to be able to decide for ourselves which private information we share and which one we do not; or do you give equal weight to all your private data? Several researches [5, 6] have corroborated that people value certain kinds of information more highly than others, being location the most valued category of personally identifiable information.
Regarding whether our data has almost a residual economic value or not, we can only say one thing, some of today’s largest tech companies  such as Google or Facebook have reached their current position thanks to exploiting our private data. Do you really think that the economic value of our data is almost residual?.
In contrast to the current statu quo, we visualize a world in which users will have control of their information and they’ll be able to obtain an economic benefit from it; collaterally helping to the development of society and science. One in which the devices can be economically self-sufficient thanks to the sale of the information that they collect. And one in which it’ll be possible to obtain real-world information tailored to our particular needs.
To build the world we have visualized we propose GeoDB, a decentralized big data protocol powered by blockchain technology focused on location, in words of Staiano, J., ‘the most valued category of personally identifiable information’ .
Blockchain allows us to store data in an immutable and verificable way to ensure that it has not been manipulated and, what is more important, this immutable storage is guaranteed by a decentralized system that makes it immune to external interference. Thanks to the above we can aspire to develop an unstoppable, reliable and adaptable big data location protocol, in which trust prevails and in which everyone wins.
Why do we present it today? On this day, 10 years ago, the Beijing Olympics were inaugurated. Due to the strong roots of the number 8 in the Asiatic culture, which considers it as an auspicious number, the opening ceremony of this Olympic Games was set to begin on August 8th, 2008 at 8:08 p.m., or what is the same, 8/8/08, 8:08 p.m. .
Therefore, we believe that today, August 8th, 2018, is a good day to present GeoDB to the world.
During the next weeks we’ll publish a series of monographic blog posts under the title ‘Discovering GeoDB’, in which we’ll progressively reveal the ins-and-outs of our proposal. In the next entry we’ll review the importance of location data, being the most relevant data for the analysis of big data and our most valued private data.
- Staiano. J et al., ‘Money Walks: A Human-Centric Study on the Economics of Personal Mobile Data’, 2014 ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, pp. 583–594. ACM, Seattle. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1407.0566.pdf