Today, Microsoft is launching an Open Data Campaign to help address the looming “data divide” and help organizations of all sizes to realize the benefits of data and the new technologies it powers. We believe everyone can benefit from opening, sharing and collaborating around data to make better decisions, improve efficiency and even help tackle some of the world’s most pressing societal challenges.
The goal of our campaign is to advance a much-needed discussion about how the world uses and shares data. To start, today we’re announcing three steps:
- First, we’re publishing new principles that will guide how Microsoft itself approaches sharing our data with others.
- Second, we’re committing to take action by developing 20 new collaborations built around shared data by 2022. This includes work with leading organizations in the open data movement like the Open Data Institute and The Governance Lab (GovLab) at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. And we’ll seek to lead by example by making our Microsoft social impact initiatives “open by default,” beginning with sharing data on broadband access from our Airband initiative and combining it with data from others to help accelerate improvements in broadband connectivity.
- Finally, we’ll invest in the essential assets that will make data sharing easier, including the required tools, frameworks and templates.
Despite the enormous growth in data and AI, both are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small number of companies. Indeed, fewer than 100 companies now collect more than 50% of the data generated by online interactions (based on analysis of similarweb.com, appfigures.com and alexa.com) and around half of all people with technical AI skills work in the technology sector (according to figures from LinkedIn). Not surprisingly, these businesses are then able to reap the enormous benefits of data and AI while others are left at a disadvantage. This data divide poses a serious challenge for society and, if left unaddressed, could lead to huge economic power flowing to just a few countries and companies. Based on current trends, for example, PWC predicts that around 70% of the economic value generated by AI will accrue to just two countries: the USA and China. But we do not believe that an ever-growing data divide is inevitable. By doing more to open up and share data, organizations can unlock value, share expertise and make data more useful for all, allowing everyone to benefit in ways they are not able to by going it alone. By acting now and joining together, more civil society organizations, governments and businesses of all sizes will be able to realize the full value of data.
Direct to Open Data Campaign Website