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Data will replace oil as source of energy

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The manufacturing industry of the future will not need oil because data will become the world’s largest source of energy, says Alibaba founder and executive chair Jack Ma.

Ma, 50, made the comments Tuesday at the opening of 2015 Big Data Expo in Guiyang, the capital of southwest China’s Guizhou province.

Responding to criticism that Alibaba’s Taobao e-commerce platform has put a lot of local and small enterprises out of business, Ma said not many people took them seriously 13 years ago when China’s e-commerce industry warned that it would soon have a massive impact on manufacturing, production and sales, and even society as a whole.

Ten years from now, Ma said, people out of business might say the same thing about big data, which refers to the use of predictive analytics or other advanced methods to extract value from a large amount of information.

Ma believes the next 30 years will be the most wonderful and most worthy of anticipation in human history, but also the most frightening. He said he was recently taken aback while interviewing six young people who used internet and big data terms he did not completely understand. He also said, however, that the more he starts to understand, the more nervous he will be.

Upgrading and evolving a business requires a lot of sacrifice and deep thought, Ma said. The mass production of data and the commercialization of society will no doubt change our way of living and the economic system, and no one knows what this next technological revolution will bring, he added.

According to Ma, the shift from information technology (IT) to data technology (DT) is not an upgrade but a competition.

“The IT era is about making yourself more powerful, the DT era is about others being more powerful. The IT era lets other people service you, the DT era lets you service other people. The IT era uses yesterday’s information to analyze and control the future, whereas the DT era is about creating the future,” he said.

“The IT era lets 20% of enterprises become more and more powerful, while 80% of enterprises might be unable to adapt. The DT era releases the power of 80% of enterprises,” he added.

The manufacturing industry of the future will no longer be just concerned with making products, because these products also need to be able to think, speak and ineract. “The IT era turned people into robots, but the DT era will turn robots into intelligent people,” Ma said, adding that all manufacturing companies in the future will have to be involved with the internet and big data.

In his concluding remarks, Ma encouraged everyone to embrace the this revolutionary era by changing yourself rather than trying to change other people. This way you won’t be blaming big data in 10 years time, he said, adding that we should all work together to turn data into a massive source of energy for humans in the future.

want china times



34 Comments on "Data will replace oil as source of energy"

  1. paulo1 on Fri, 29th May 2015 7:59 am 

    Wow, now I know it is possible for stupid people to get insanely rich in any part of the world.

    Big data in your car today, doofus. Big data will fertilize your fields and pump water from your shrinking aquifer.

    For Christ’s sake this is so much bullshit.

  2. Davy on Fri, 29th May 2015 8:03 am 

    Article said “The manufacturing industry of the future will not need oil because data will become the world’s largest source of energy, says Alibaba founder and executive chair Jack Ma.”

    I refuse to read any further this corn porn Ma has delusion of the mind. This legalized criminal Ma is preaching his hopium to keep his pig trough full.

  3. Perk Earl on Fri, 29th May 2015 8:12 am 

    I was just about to paste the same quote in Davy. Yeah, I couldn’t read past that either.

    It’s amazing though how many people will probably eat this malarkey up. “Oh, wow, data will replace energy!”

  4. Steve O on Fri, 29th May 2015 8:26 am 

    I had to check my calendar, I though this was an April Fools Day joke.

  5. penury on Fri, 29th May 2015 9:02 am 

    The problem is not that he said this,it is that millions of people believe this. Remember the U.S gave up industry to become the leader in information tech, I admit to being old, so what the hell is “data” and how do I extract the “energy” from it?

  6. BobInget on Fri, 29th May 2015 9:03 am 

    Okay boys, you had your fun.
    Now, take the dog out for a walk and list all the
    businesses, including health care, entertainment and transportation that have been replaced by data.

    Robots perform delicate eye operations or build your next self driving, electric, automobile.

    Data power designed a battery that hangs on a wall capable of powering homes or entire neighborhoods. Computers built PV’s that put out
    on cloudy days. Turbines, freezers, propellers,
    jet engines, solar aircraft.. (one is crossing the Pacific rat now)

    WE all take more photographs then ever. When was the last time you bought a roll of film?

    Because of super-computers we are are able to find, raise oil and gas once thought lost forever.

    The average cell phone has more computing power then the moon lander. An African farmer can call ahead to check market prices instead of spending all day walking or on a bus. When she gets paid,
    those funds go into a cell phone.

    There’s now a device that gives realistic hand jobs
    (so I’m told) live, on line. Think of the energy that saves.

  7. joe on Fri, 29th May 2015 9:19 am 

    Wow, China is so advanced. It can build sand islands, and defy the law of thermodynamics.
    Just as the sea washes away sand…
    Isn’t this skynet type future they all want kinda pointless, wouldn’t an artificial lifeforms have rights as a sentient being. Opposition to slavery was based on injustice to living beings , future slavery will create intelligent life, then enslave it and expect it never to revolt under threat of deletion, but if we come to rely on it for everything as Ma expects, that would be an empty threat and humans become redundant.

  8. Rodster on Fri, 29th May 2015 9:23 am 

    I look forward to the day I can drive a 38 MPG of Data car.

  9. Davy on Fri, 29th May 2015 9:37 am 

    Yea, Bob, in the process of your technological wonders we have destroyed our climate, ecosystem, and culture. Quite to the contrary of creating energy the paradox of energy efficiency and increased consumption has brought us to limits and diminishing returns sooner. Many of your false wonders have been used by the world militaries to kill and maim. So Bob, you still want to take your gloves off?

  10. Northwest Resident on Fri, 29th May 2015 9:39 am 

    3-D oil! Any day now.

  11. GregT on Fri, 29th May 2015 9:46 am 

    Perhaps the Data being referred to here is the one from the Starship Enterprise?

  12. Lawfish1964 on Fri, 29th May 2015 10:07 am 

    GMAFB! I don’t know what’s more disheartening, the fact that this guy actually believes this crap or the fact that any publisher on the face of the planet actually reported it.

  13. Lawfish1964 on Fri, 29th May 2015 10:08 am 

    GMAFB! I don’t know what’s more disheartening, the fact that this guy believes this crap or the fact that any publisher on the face of the planet actually published it.

  14. Lawfish1964 on Fri, 29th May 2015 10:08 am 

    Oops, double post. My bad.

  15. gdubya on Fri, 29th May 2015 10:47 am 

    I think Michael Greer has pointed out – better than me – that almost all this data and complexity are the result of more energy usage, not less. There is a video of a track laying machine https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_MKcTbYDP7w
    That would have amused the Chinese coolies (“chinks” from the sound of their hammers) who built north Americas railways. However now those Chinese work in the factories that build the machines that build the machines so no humans have to lift rail sections anymore.

    And it all runs on coal and diesel; even the data.

  16. dolanbaker on Fri, 29th May 2015 11:16 am 

    The problem is that he is in fact talking about finance, not the real world!

    Data is becoming a real money-spinner and will replace energy.

    As others have pointed out, you can’t survive on data alone!

  17. dolanbaker on Fri, 29th May 2015 11:17 am 

    That should say.

    Data is becoming a real money-spinner and will replace energy as a revenue generator.

  18. rockman on Fri, 29th May 2015 11:21 am 

    I think you guys are missing the point: the potential to convert the developing huge pile of bull sh*t into methanol.

  19. Apneaman on Fri, 29th May 2015 11:30 am 

    The average cell phone uses more electricity than the average fridge when you add it all up. “The Cloud” is dirty and coal fired and humanity is choking on it just so we can watch porn and cat videos. Technology is just another dirty toxic industrial product with a green sticker on it. It’s made things worse not better.

    Hidden in an unknown corner of China is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, gadgets and green tech, discovers Tim Maughan.

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150402-the-worst-place-on-earth

  20. Apneaman on Fri, 29th May 2015 11:53 am 

    The Texas Floods Are So Big They Ended the State’s Drought

    “TEXAS REALLY CAN’T seem to catch a break. A month ago, the Lone Star state was in the middle of a dry emergency: Its reservoirs were draining, its depleted aquifers were sucking in the earth above. As of Wednesday, though, the state is saturated. Four weeks of dousing storms have swept away property, roads, lives, and prompted governor Greg Abbott to declare 37 counties as disaster areas.”

    http://www.wired.com/2015/05/texas-floods-big-ended-states-drought/

  21. HARM on Fri, 29th May 2015 11:57 am 

    test

  22. HARM on Fri, 29th May 2015 11:58 am 

    For some reason I keep getting a captcha screen followed by nothing. Oh well, here goes…

    The worst part of this manic technocopian blather was it didn’t even make sense from an IT perspective –even if you ignore the thermodynamic impossibilities.

    Case in point:

    “The IT era is about making yourself more powerful, the DT era is about others being more powerful. The IT era lets other people service you, the DT era lets you service other people.”

    Yes, how true. I’ve worked in IT for nearly 20 years and all I and my colleagues ever thought about is making ourselves more “powerful” and tricking other people into “servicing” us. We never once gave the customer so much as a passing thought.

    “The IT era uses yesterday’s information to analyze and control the future, whereas the DT era is about creating the future,” he said.”

    True again. No one in IT ever gave any thought to creating better technology to improve results for our customers or change the future –including Steve Jobs, Linus Torvalds, Larry Paige, etc. All we wanted to do was slam the door shut on technological progress and freeze the current world in amber.

  23. Apneaman on Fri, 29th May 2015 12:13 pm 

    This guy is just pulling a stunt like Amazon did awhile back with their PR drone delivery distraction. Anything to get you looking the other way. Amazon – lots of sales, but not very profitable. Hey look a drone delivering a package – everything is awesome! Better hang on to that Amazon stock. It’s a technological delivery revolution, miracle, game changer, bla, bla bla. Sound familiar?

  24. hiruitnguyse on Fri, 29th May 2015 12:32 pm 

    Apneaman, Amazon still can’t find my house to this day…..I live on the cusp of 3 warring little shittowns, and I can go out and put one foot in one pathetic little hell hole, and the other foot in another sad, broken town. UPS claims I live in one place 7 miles down the road as does Pay Pal. The local Town claims I am within their city limits. My PO box is at a 3rd town which is the closest drive to my house (I could walk there through the woods).

    I mostly just gave up ordering from Amazon. Recently I ordered a small air compressor, and after it got sent back from carrier to carrier, I contacted Fed Ex and provided my latitude and longitude, (something Orlov would understand) and let them determine which of the 3 I lived in. It still went to the house next door.

    I can just see a drone flying over and dropping a package of 500 T posts, a 330 foot roll of fencing, and a Stanadyne DB2 on my doorstep.

  25. HARM on Fri, 29th May 2015 12:37 pm 

    @Apneaman,

    Yup, it’s all razzle-dazzle to sell stock and generate buzz. I guess it mainly comes down to most people just want to be entertained. If someone got up and simply told the truth, that would probably not inspire the crowds:

    “Things in the near future are likely to be similar to how they are now, with a tiny minority in charge of all the world’s wealth and few opportunities for the rest of you. There will be a few flashy new gadgets for the elite that won’t really change much, while in the far future, we’re likely to be hitting hard population and resource limits, scaling our expectations about life way back, and making extremely unpleasant choices in order to survive”.

  26. hiruitnguyse on Fri, 29th May 2015 12:38 pm 

    Think I will roll up a few old pages from Dept. of Commerce “Handbook of Mathematical Functions” (I don’t use Bessel’s much any more these days), along with some “Physical Constants of Inorganic Compounds” from the CRC Handbook shove them in the tank my old Ford F350, and see if I can make it up to the feed store this mornin’…..

  27. jedrider on Fri, 29th May 2015 1:08 pm 

    Well, I’m in line to buy the next Prius that will recharge on a USB4 cable. With the data rate expected, that’s going to be one fast SOB to drive.

  28. Speculawyer on Fri, 29th May 2015 3:37 pm 

    What a terribly vague and confused article. What ever it is that Jack Ma said, the writer clearly did not understand it and just wrote garbage.

  29. jimmy on Fri, 29th May 2015 4:37 pm 

    last time I checked global agriculture relied on about 50 trillion dollars worth of capital equipment and most of it ran on diesel

  30. HARM on Fri, 29th May 2015 5:05 pm 

    Hopium is our best source of unlimited fuel for the next century of exponential growth.

  31. shortonoil on Fri, 29th May 2015 6:29 pm 

    They smoke a lot of that stuff in China too!

  32. Graeme on Fri, 29th May 2015 7:15 pm 

    He’s talking about the IOT:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_Things

  33. Boat on Sat, 30th May 2015 5:08 am 

    Big Data is really common sense that we can blame change on. In the US big data or no date we pay our taxes through an extremely inefficient system. Big data would tell you to have a flat tax and quit wasting billions in transferring money. No more IRS and H&R Block. Cost to people? A few unneeded jobs. Savings to taxpayers? Billions. This is our future, get used to it. Efficiency

  34. drwater on Sat, 30th May 2015 6:52 pm 

    Data can be used to lower entropy (i.e. you can get more work done for the same amount of energy). Obviously, it is not energy.

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