Thursday, January 26, 2012

Big Data and the Mother of All Financial Databases

The NY Times reports that at Davos discussions have focused on big data.  Specifically, how big data is going to transform the way decisions are made and the industry operates.

The financial industry is no exception and would be particularly true if ultra transparency was adopted and your humble blogger's Mother of All Financial Databases was constructed.

Today’s topic de jour: data. Lots of data. 
What makes the data discussion different than in previous years is that it is being discussed in high-profile nontechnology meetings too. This is clearly evident at this year’s annual World Economic Forum. 
Meetings here this week include: “From data to decisions: How are new approaches to data intelligence transforming decision-making?” “Data deluge and citizen science.” “Incidents from digital crime to massive incidents of data theft are increasing significantly, with major political, social and economic implications.” “How is big data being used to uncover individual and collective human dynamics?” 
The discussions are not confined to technology attendees either. Chancellors, bankers and educators meeting at the conference are being asked to discuss what the forum calls a growing data deluge and how to manage it. 
2012 report released by the World Economic Forum, titled, “Big Data, Big Impact: New Possibilities for International Development,” outlines some of the possibilities data can bring around the globe to business and education. It also warns of its potential privacy implications.
Please note that I designed a prototype of the Mother of All Financial databases where protecting borrower privacy was a major feature.  Specifically, the database complies with the privacy as laid out under HIPAA - the gold standard for privacy in the US; it is based off of EU financial privacy laws.
The report says data is a new economic asset class, which touches all aspects of society, regardless of income or location. 
“Big data represents one of these seismic economic shifts that happens every 10 years,” said Zach Bogue, co-founder of a stealth data investment fund called Data Collective, who was attending Davos. “In some sense, this data has always existed, but until now the bandwidth, storage capability and compute power haven’t existed to harness it.” 
Yet as there is talk of data, the discussion of privacy is not far behind....

At the World Economic Forum, the discussion is also focusing on one of the toughest regulation challenges in regards to data collection: How to manage a balancing act between governments overseeing data collection and its actions stifling innovation. More importantly, regulators hope to figure out a global solution to data collection.
When it comes to finance, governments should require ultra transparency and let the market develop the Mother of all Financial Databases consistent with protecting borrower privacy.
As the World Economic Forum reports says: ”Concerted action is needed by governments, development organizations and companies to ensure that this data helps the individuals and communities who create it.”

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