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Midwest Minnesota Twitter Meetup

SWSWi 2011 Open Data

I drowsily stepped into the office Wednesday afternoon. Eight hours of traveling, on top of, six days of talking, drinking, and learning had left me a puddle of my former self. A co-worker asked; “So, what was the BIG takeaway?”. I uttered; “Open data.”, as I hit my chair.

It’s like a freight train. I spent most of my time watching all the big names of the conference listening for cues. They look like deer in headlights when the topic comes up. It’s like extreme excitement and fear wrapped into anxiety. No one knows what’s next. That was the theme. A huge question mark.

Tim O’Reilly spoke of a startup that is helping to make it happen. Fluid Info is what RSS was for blogging, as what API’s are for the most insane mashups you could ever image.

I love data, especially finding context and meaning in huge data sets.  Prediction modeling is coming, and no one wants to talk about it.  It makes Dante’s Inferno look like Winnie the Pooh.  There are massive moral implications, not just from a marketing standpoint, but health, finance, and every other part of our lives.

Credit companies can already predict if you’ll get a divorce (two years ahead of time) with 98% accuracy based on spending patterns, but they won’t send you a email to tell you.  Zuckerberg can tell you when you’re going to “break up” and who you are going to “date” with a 33% accuracy.  Don’t get me started on genetics, the CDC, and tracking diseases.

Dennis Crowley’s keynote took the cake.  They’re hoarding venue ID’s.  The value is not in the ID itself, but what you can do with it.  The new “Explore” feature is probably a slapped together algorithm right now, but you could see him get excited with the possibilities of tomorrow.

Web 3.0 is the fortune teller.

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