Technical issues tend, quite naturally, to be the focus of attention for data professionals, but those who call themselves “professionals” have a responsibility to pause occasionally and reflect on the wider impact of their profession. Data professionals are not exempt from this.

We are now at a point where some reflection is necessary. The fact is that the true nature of the information age is still only felt in outline. Nobody has yet been able to explain it in a coherent manner the way that Adam Smith was able to do in the industrial age in The Wealth of Nations. Indeed, the nature of the outline of the information age keeps changing, and a major trend is the increasing focus away from automation toward data. While this is a very positive development for the data management profession, it also means that our activities will likely come under more scrutiny.

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