Mark Austwicke

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What constitutes our most valuable data and what will be the legacy of the items that hold it?

There are many examples of what can be classified as personal data.

It can be the things that define who we are physically as a person like our appearance, name, age or behaviours.

It can be material things like our possessions, assets or finances.

It can even be the intangible things like our memories, feelings or knowledge.


History shows us that it is human nature to record data - whether it be the diary that contains our deepest secrets, the memory stick that holds cherished photos or the safety deposit box that stores our most important financial records. As a result, almost by default, the objects that carry this information become as inherently valuable as the data itself.

As we increasingly shift towards a digital future with the cloud at its core, how will these physical objects change? Will they even exist at all? If so, what do you think they will be and how will they work?


Any examples of what you constitute as your most valuable data and why, along with opinions on what you feel will be the legacy of the item that 'holds' this data, would be greatly appreciated.

  • Dec 25 2013: My most valuable data/possessions are my relationships and friendships.
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    Dec 24 2013: The data being collected by Facebook, Dropbox and other tech services will be priceless a century from now. Certainly they see this. If one company held all of the messages, geolocation history and biometric data of everyone from the 19th century, what would be it's value today? Will there be a point when nation-states seize these data troves from the private sector, just as Queen Victoria seized control of India from the East India Company?
  • Dec 22 2013: The value of physical objects still holds value even in the digital age.The physical objects also act as storage of emotions which is not with digital objects.

    Whenever my youngest sister brings out the large set of paper photographs then one by one whole family gathers together at one place then each one of us see the photographs . And while seeing the photographs the emotions are triggered in each of us and then we all of us travel back in time and a good conversation takes place among all of us. And some times tears roll down and sometimes the moment of happiness is replayed. And sometimes we tease at each other and make a lot fun and enjoyment.

    But this is not with digital images.