Megadata: a National Strategy, not a Marketing Tool
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
January 5, 2015
Executive Summary: Professor Ko's campaign committee won the election by means of data calculation. That of course must be taken into consideration. But is making the effects perceptible to voters the Mao cabinet's only motive for megadata planning? Is megadata merely a policy marketing tool, rather than a comprehensive policy planning strategy? If so, then the Mao cabinet is truly out of touch with global trends, and the Kuomintang government is destined for defeat yet again in its cyberwar with the DPP.
Full Text Below:
The New Year holiday was chilly. We are now into the year 2015. We look back. We look ahead. We alternate between the old and the new. We see that we have plenty of homework to do. Many people are still caught up in wake of the nine in one elections. Several newly elected city mayors have shocked voters with impressive victories. But from a larger perspective, this was inevitable. A ruling party made way for newcomers. In a democratic society, none of this is surprising. In 2015 the ruling and opposition parties on Taiwan should not be concerned about who will run for president in 2016. They should be concerned about the way Internet technology is changing the world.
Many commentaries about last year's nine in one elections mention the arriveal of a new generation of voters. They noted how this new generation grew up with the Internet. It knows how to use new media. It became involved with the election campaigns. In March last year, during the student movement, many noted how students were using the new media. They overrode the influence of traditional mainstream media. They even monopolized discussion of the STA. They successfully blocked passage of trade in services legislation. They forced the ruling KMT to study the new media and incorporate it into their own policy advocacy approach. Clearly the real world effect was negligible.
Many still do not understand the new media behind the March student movement. In fact, it was merely one link in the development of a digital network. It was not the cause, but merely the effect. Ignore the media for the moment, and one soon discovers that the banking, retail, travel, mobile phone, and entertainment industries all underwent tectonic changes long ago. More and more e-commerce sites have surpassed bricks and mortar stores in performance. These changes are quietly rewriting our lives.
Take the world's largest retailer Wal-Mart, for example. It has 50,000 employees on Mainland China and an annual turnover of more than 10 billion dollars. It is a retail giant. But once Jack Ma founded Taobao, a mere three years later, Taobao's annual turnover was three times that of all Wal-Mart stores on Mainland China. On 11/11, 2013, Singles Day, a single day's transactions equaled that of an entire Hong Kong Golden Week. This simple data should surprise anyone. The world has changed. Alas, many have yet to wake up to the fact.
Actually the current cabinet includes many members who understand new media. For example, over the past several years, the cabinet has been promoting 4G mobile broadband networks and related industries. It has invested a great deal of effort into them. The popularization of 4G smart phones is merely a matter of time. It will inevitably accelerate the development of new media on Taiwan. But the ruling administration failed to realize that the establishment of 4G broadband technology on Taiwan was merely one link in the digitization chain. Other factors are changing as well. They include political, economic, social, and even psychological factors. They include of course the digital generational divide. In other words, the new generation media exercise was not a forecast. It was an announcement that the New World has already arrived.
When Premier Mao took office, he issued his so-called "Mao's three arrows." He assigned Chang San-cheng, a deputy premier with ICT expertise, to plan and implement "open data," "megadata," and "crowdsourcing," and make the benefits perceptible to the public within within six months. The Mao cabinet apparently expected megadata to accurately calculate public demand and facilitate farsighted governance. Was Premier Mao's vision for megadata merely for public perception? If so, then he underestimate the power of this new global trend.
Consider current practice in nations all across the globe. The US plans to raise research and production of megadata to the strategic level. In 2012 alone it invested $ 200 million to implement a "Megadata Research and Development Plan". Mainland China has already made plans. They include promoting open government information, encouraging large data clusters, establishing the Zhongguancun Information Industry Alliance trading platform, and building science and technology megadata platforms. Britain will treat megadata as a strategic technology. It invested 189 million pounds in 2013 to develop megadata technology. France has issued a "digital roadmap" and announced that it will support strategic megadata, including a € 300 million high-tech investment fund to promote megadat development. Korea is aggressively pursuing a series of strategies for megadata development. The related research and development is seen as a matter of "national will". It budgeted $ 200 million in 2013 for a four-year national megadata engineering project. Singapore intends to increase its government data analysis capacity, and promote Singapore as a global data analysis center.
Professor Ko's campaign committee won the election by means of data calculation. That of course must be taken into consideration. But is making the effects perceptible to voters the Mao cabinet's only motive for megadata planning? Is megadata merely a policy marketing tool, rather than a comprehensive policy planning strategy? If so, then the Mao cabinet is truly out of touch with global trends, and the Kuomintang government is destined for defeat yet again in its cyberwar with the DPP.
社論－解構2014 大數據不只是行銷工具 是國家戰略