Personal Data Fusion™ and the End of Information Overload

As a high-value professional, you know that information overload is becoming worse, and Personal Data Fusion™ is here to help. You’re continuously bombarded by more information from ever more apps. Perhaps you have three thousand unread emails, or thirty thousand, or even three hundred thousand. And you expect your information overload to intensify in the future, because it’s the price you pay for your professional success. You cannot afford to miss out on new tools for communicating with colleagues, new media for expanding your professional network, and new information sources providing updates relevant to your priorities.

What if there were a technology to boil that ocean of information for you, condensing and distilling, so your priorities come into sharp focus? Technology that automatically groups your emails, contacts, meetings and documents around your priorities, tracking your progress and alerting you to new information? Finally you could approach your work strategically instead of drowning in the information deluge.

Personal Data Fusion™ is the artificial intelligence technology that will end information overload. Actually, Personal Data Fusion™ has already started making your life better. If your smartphone has ever told you to “leave now for your meeting because traffic is heavy,” then you’ve experienced Personal Data Fusion™. Your smartphone fused data from your calendar and your GPS sensor with map data and traffic data to generate high-level guidance that just might save you from missing an important meeting. Of course, it’s a simple application and the technology is not mature, but the implication is clear: Personal Data Fusion™ will help you stay on track by piecing together your goals, your position and your possible game plans from fragmentary data.

Although Personal Data Fusion™ is new, data fusion has been used in military and intelligence applications for decades. As an undergrad at Stanford, I did research with Professor Edward Feigenbaum on using data fusion to detect cyber warfare attacks. Conceptually, data fusion is simple: each data source is like a flashlight illuminating part of a picture, so fusing them together lets you see the picture clearly. In practice, data fusion requires enormous investments in system integration, knowledge engineering, and machine learning.

Personal Data Fusion™ is the third wave of the Internet Revolution.

The first wave of the Internet revolution was the Web Wave, set in motion by Netscape and Yahoo! in 1994. The Web Wave made information available. Over the course of a decade, almost every important information source became available online. The Web Wave was fast, colossal and devastating, sweeping away broad swathes of traditional information networks. Telephone directories, encyclopedias and paper maps vanished with hardly a trace; many print newspapers and bricks-and-mortar bookstores followed.

The second wave of the Internet revolution was the Mobile Wave. Although NTT DoCoMo brought the mobile Internet to Japan in 1999, it was Apple and the iPhone that truly launched the Mobile Wave in 2007.  The Mobile Wave made information accessible. Over a decade, mobile devices channeled the world’s information to our pockets, our palms and our wrists.

Personal Data Fusion™ is the third wave. It began in 2011 with Apple Siri, soon followed by Google Now and Microsoft Cortana. Personal Data Fusion™ makes information useful, by interpreting what information means for you, in the context of your life and your priorities. Personal Data Fusion™ means you never lose track of your travel itinerary, your event tickets, or your online purchases. As Personal Data Fusion™ matures, the technology will help you accomplish more with less effort, creating new opportunities in your personal and professional life.

Thanks to Professor Bradley Staats, UNC Chapel Hill for his help developing these ideas.

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