Cheaper to meter

meteringKevin Kelly has written a typically intriguing post on ubiquitous metering: what if everything were measured, monitored, recorded, and indexed?

Imagine a world were any set of historical data was available to you. Everyone has their own favorite data stream from history they would love to have. Such a trove would transform our lives. For that reason, monitoring everything will become commonplace. Cheaply metering data, in fact, is what propels the free economy. Metering is a type of attention. Products and services will be given away in exchange for the meta data about their use. Data about the free is now more valuable than the free thing itself.

This is an interesting idea, very much in the vein of Charles Stross’ brilliant The Beginning of History.

I suppose a Panopticon of sorts is fairly inevitable. Hopefully the transition to a world where everything is recorded all the time will be well-handled, and won’t be used for authoritarian or nefarious purposes.

It’ll be a massive change, perhaps one of the biggest social changes ever.

[from Kevin Kelly’s blog][image from Unhindered by Talent on flickr]