A new day for data

Almost no one has mentioned Government 2.0 in the same breath as business intelligence—yet they’re destined for each other.

Government 2.0 is about turning the old one-way dialog, from all levels of government to you, into genuine collaboration. Voting as we know it is “dumb,” while blogging, wikis, mashups, collaborative filtering, social networking sites and other Web 2.0 stuff is “smart.” Government will listen. Government will engage. We’ll all have a great time just being citizens. Perhaps when we do vote, the choices will make sense.

Even if, as I suspect, all that takes decades to play out, the technology to run it will march to the front line right away.

In back of all that cool Web 2.0 stuff will certainly be the data wrangling technology and methods for managing the wisdom deposited by you and me: master data management, data warehousing, data mining, harvesting of unstructured data, and visualization.

Can government do it alone? Not likely. One of the most intriguing ideas—to be proposed this fall in the Yale Journal of Law & Technology—would have government provide just an API: take your data to mine it, store it, repackage it, and visualize it at will. Plug’n’play.

It’ll be a new day for data and for an industry that knows how to make sense of it.

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