‘Data is the new Oil’ phrase has been used several times in publications and speeches across the globe since it was first coined by a UK mathematician, Clive Humby, around 12 years ago. While parallel can definitely be drawn between Data and Oil as they both generate value when mined, Data has emerged as a commodity which can be renewed for value far more than Oil.

Some of the key aspects differentiating between data and oil are as below:

  • Oil exists on earth as a finite commodity, while data is not in short supply but being generated at a humongous rapidity. It is estimated that by 2020, 40 zettabytes of data will be created.
  • Oil scarcity creates its value, while value of data increases with the insights generated by combinations of data sets and analytics.
  • With time, it is becoming extremely difficult and expensive to find, extract and transport Oil from untapped sites. However, it is easy to produce large amounts of Data and make the same available anywhere/anytime with time.
  • Oil is also a one-time usage commodity, adding more oil doesn’t result in better quality. However, Data can be mined multiple times and reused for new purposes, creating value almost every time.
  • During drilling, the raw Oil is all same with no major utilization until it is processed. The Data though exists in various forms as soon as created (pictures, words, stats, music) and can be utilized immediately in productive ways.
  • Oil drilling causes damage to nature and environmental balance, while data mining doesn’t cause any such damage. In fact, the destruction caused by Oil over the years in different ways (oil spillage etc) has far more impact than disruption caused by data…HOPEFULLY (fingers crossed)

Data and Oil are very different from the fact that Data can generate huge value to human beings, tackling various issues being faced by Mankind, while being reused multiple times

Consider Data as source of Power like Sun and a RENEWABLE COMMODITY, which generates value every time it is analysed or mined.

Will there ever be a time, when the planet earth will have no more data to extract………….NEVER.

By:- Sapan Talwar

Comments (2)

  1. Rahul Neel Mani says:

    The cliched comparison of data with oil is for the sheer energy and inertia they both produce. The comparison isn’t certainly for the refined product but the value hidden in their crude forms too. But your comparative analysis throws a new dimension!

    1. Sapan says:

      Much thanks for sharing thoughts, Rahul. I fully get your perspective.
      Have been hearing this phrase ‘data is the new oil’, mentioned during interviews/panel discussions/speaker notes/articles and felt that bringing in a different view will help…I read quote by Wayne W Dyer and firmly believe in the same…”Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change”

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