The personal data revolution won’t come about by people deciding they want to take back control

Do people want to control their data? As the FT has pointed out , there’s little evidence supporting this proposition. Rather, those who believe in the personal data revolution need to realise that if it is to succeed, it will be by enabling unprecedented user experiences.

In other words, the day people start showing off their new personal data-fuelled superpowers to their friends, we’ll know the revolution is at hand.

So, we’re talking a new generation of apps and services with the ‘check this out!’ factor of a Pokemon Go or Google’s Image Translate and featuring privacy by design. Where might they come from?

One possible direction is the ‘quantified self’ movement, which could be turbo-charged by services that enable individuals to benefit from our personal data. For example, I could choose to download an algorithm that analyses my spending or the impact of my lifestyle on my health and wellbeing. However it’s unclear how much latent demand there is for these kinds of ‘know thyself’ applications, beyond the current crop of FitBit and Strava enthusiasts.

Personally, I think the rubber will really hit the road with an AI-enabled, privacy-first ‘personal assistant’ that helps reduce friction and increase delight in our daily lives – think a more useful version of Siri or Alexa, without the need to share any personal data.

Meanwhile, awareness of the value of our personal data may grow, perhaps through high profile citizen-initiated actions against GDPR infringers. It promises to be an interesting summer…One thing’s for sure: talk about experiences and personalisation has promised more than it’s delivered for years now. Whoever finally cracks the formula will flourish, big time.