Fictitious Joe’s birthday is July 3, 1980. He also really likes Jimi Hendrix.
This information alone is worthless.
But if Joe is your brother (if you’re a Person entity related to him), that context means this data has value to you. It’s important for you know Joe’s birthday and interests.
Right now, Facebook knows this. Whether through a Spotify integration or “liked” fan page or overheard through your phone’s mic because you use their Messenger app, Facebook knows the birthdate, family members, friends, and musical taste of Joe.
And now marketers can easily target Joe’s “close friends” with a dynamically created “Hey, Joe” t-shirt for sale just weeks before his birthday (Demographics > Life Events > Birthday > Upcoming Birthday).
Now Joe maybe didn’t want that. Or like most people, he’s not aware he has given up that data, or if he is, of the greater implications of allowing FB that data as progress in data analysis hurls forward with time.
But, Joe is your brother in this scenario and he does want you to know his birthday and interests. You’re related after all and so have the right to know his birthday. So you can wish him Happy Birthday.
Thus, Joe’s birthday, in this context, is part of your knowledge graph.
Today, the data about you and the things you’re connected to is only available to large corporations doing big data things. We can already know more about a person than they know about themselves in a greater context.
We are at a moment in history where this can change, where we can be the beneficiaries of the connected data of our lives, but we need to act.
Ok let’s back up for a moment.
If you remember, a knowledge graph is a database of how things are related.
A knowledge graph can be global (imagine wikipedia type data about things and how they’re related) or domain-specific, like medical terms (this symptom is related to that disorder).
A personal knowledge graph, a relatively new term, is concerned with how you are related to the things around you (personal network, hobbies, concepts).
Frustratingly, what’s propelling this very exciting tech frontier is voice assistant technology. To be a good voice assistant, Alexa needs to mine your personal data and map it in a way that can be leveraged for profit. For example, it needs to understand that “buy more guitar strings for my guitar,” requires an understanding of who you are, what kind of guitar you have, and what your strings purchasing preferences are. So Amazon, Google, Apple are all in this race right now for much deeper data awareness of your life. And the mechanism by which they can mine this data with ease, just from you talking, is unbelievable – a post for another time.
So personal knowledge graph advances right now are designed around use cases that allow big tech to know and then monetize intimate details about your life.
The “use cases” for your very own knowledge graph (a term I’m making up) revolve around your own personal and professional goals.
If we all owned our own personal knowledge graphs, with well structured representation of our networks, habits, actions, behaviors, location, property, etc., etc., we could opt to use and share that data in a limited way with loved ones, with strategic business partners, or for causes we care about, like finding patterns in how COVID-19 is spreading.
Just like how patient data should be owned and controlled exclusively by the patient, you should have exclusive ownership of your owned knowledge graph, and what the combination of interests, values, ideas, relationships, that unique representation of you means.
That data is incredibly powerful when unlocked. And given data only matters in context, you would benefit the most from the data.
Here’s an example from today. It looks like Oura Ring, a wearable device that does high accuracy tracking of vitals, can catch early symptoms of COVID while people still feel “normal.” At least, the NBA is buying into that idea.
We already have access to global knowledge graphs, Facebook and Google even have APIs for their graphs. But the value to you is in the context in which you exist in a larger knowledge graph.
We also already have tech that would enable us to personally benefit from our own data.
The idea is that you could layer in more data, give it your activity feed, calendar, etc., and it would know where you were, what you should be doing, what the path of least resistance to a desired outcome would be.
But it’d be yours. I want you to graph your personal and professional life, networks, etc., for your own private gain.
Let’s say you start with website data, and enrich your graph from there to include content, concepts, products, email list, clients, etc.
Over the next few emails, I’ll be exploring the possibilities and value of your very own knowledge graph, how that can give us a leg up in content strategy, and how realistic it is.