Almost everything we do generates data.
Digital technology is now so pervasive that it's very hard to escape its influence, and with that growth comes fear. But whatever the news has told you about data and technology, think again.
Data expert and tech insider Sam Gilbert shows that, actually, this data revolution could be the best thing that ever happened to us.
Good Data examines the incredible new ways this information explosion is already helping us - whether that's combating inequality, creating jobs, advancing the frontiers of knowledge or protecting us from coronavirus - and explains why the best is yet to come.
Data touches everything, from our biggest hates (online advertising) to our greatest loves (our pets), and in this fascinating new book, Gilbert explores how, if we can embrace the revolution (even the ads), we could all live vastly improved lives.
We are standing on the edge of greatness, we just need to know how to get there.
Sam Gilbert is an affiliated researcher at the Bennett Institute for Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. An expert in data-driven marketing, he was employee number one and chief marketing officer at Bought By Many, an award-winning fintech start-up named as one of Wired's hottest start-ups in Europe and ranked 13th in the Sunday Times TechTrack100 list of the UK's fastest-growing companies in 2018. Previously, he was head of strategy and development at the data company Experian and head of consumer finance at Santander. Sam also advises early-stage tech businesses on growth strategy and digital marketing. He lives in London and Copenhagen. Good Data is his first book.
Data is rather a broad term - we all encounter and deal with it every single day, in a myriad of different ways.
However, the word 'Data' is a loaded one - and whenever you see it in the papers, it seems to be packed together with potential negatives. "Data Breaches", "Data Confidentiality", "Remove my data" etc. - despite data being hugely integral to how the world works, our media is unfailingly pessimistic about it, and seems keen to stoke those pessimistic fires every day.
I work with data (in my day job!) so my approach to it is perhaps somewhat different, but I was nevertheless hugely keen to read 'Good Data' - a book that attempts to change the conversation about data to a positive one.
As author Sam Gilbert points out, 'digital technology is now so pervasive, that almost every aspect of our daily lives consumes or generates data'. As a result, it's hugely important that we become better educated when it comes to data and what it means for us as a society - and Sam Gilbert explains this in fascinating detail.
A book solely about data may at first strike you as something that could be dull - but Gilbert is an excellent writer, and allows his personality to shine through, which, combined with many fascinating case studies about how data is used, makes for hugely interesting reading.
Perhaps the most interesting chapter for me was about Zimbabwe - Gilbert using his personal experiences there to shed light on global events and exactly how they have been impacted and communicated with regards to data.
With so much misinformation currently being circulated (Covid is caused by 5G, the Vaccine is created by Bill Gates in order to track us...), it's important that we educate ourselves as to exactly how our data can be used, and why it's not something to be afraid of.
'Good Data' is an excellent place to start - and Gilbert's skill is such that anybody will be able to read this and come away perhaps a little bit calmer about the use of their data, and somewhat excited about our data driven futures.
Good Data: An Optimist's Guide to Our Digital Future by Sam Gilbert is published 1st April 2021, published by Welbeck, price £14.99 in hardback.