Discussion  - 
Open data is not a panacea, says +Cathy O'Neil.
I've been starting to consider what the value of open data is, and how we should take a considered approach to it. It looks like +Cathy O'Neil is embarking on a similar exploration, and these are her opening thoughts.

When important data goes public, the edge goes to the most sophisticated data engineer, not the general public. The Goldman Sachs’s of the world will always know how to make use of “freely available to everyone” data before the average guy.
I’ve talked a lot recently about how there’s an information war currently being waged on consumers by companies that troll the internet and collect personal data, search histories, and ...
Paco Nathan's profile photoGeorge Pace's profile photoErich Schubert's profile photoMichael R. Bernstein's profile photo
Interesting. A curious conflation of verb tenses.

I'm not convinced that the Goldman Sachs' of the world will necessarily be the first to do something interesting to leverage Open Data, lacking insight or motivation to do so. Probably more like some sophomore at Stanford would be first to the punch. Again, not the "average guy" but probably not the usual suspects, either.
I'm not sure I agree with your optimism, +Paco Nathan. I think we just tend to hear about it more often when the student or hacker does it.
Good point, I'll buy that. Open Data is not "democratizing" in the sense that everyone on one's block will run out and crunch data.gov on their personal Hadoop cluster to resolve the federal budget. I am impressed with what can be done in the context of local communities. Palo Alto is local for me, admittedly an outlier.
I think it is like everything else.  Its all about ideas and execution ..  While browsers and the internet were available to EVERYONE - IBM, Microsoft, Oracle etc - didn't invent Facebook - or Twitter - or LinkedIn or Groupon .. etc  . .Even though the "tools" and web access were freely available to all of them .. 

Specific to the Goldman Sachs of the World - I would expect them to to leverage the data for what it is they do best.

But I also expect there will be new ideas, products and companies  that look at the data in a new light - in ways that the Goldman Sachs of the world can't or won't 
Somehow G+ doesn't show me the earlier comments, so maybe this has brought up before. I do expect the Goldman Sachs to already have had this data. Probably even in higher quality than the government. So IMHO, this is a lot about making this data easier accessible to small NGOs etc. that cannot easily affort to buy access.
Leveling the playing field just means the most-skilled players have a shot, and that deeper pockets, incumbent gatekeepers, and other advantages don't automatically win. Deeper pockets, of course, mean that you can attract some of the most-skilled players, but every organization is going to keep hitting it's head against the fact that most of the smart people work for someone else, and probably in a different industry (and everyone tries to commoditize their complements).

It is true that no small player is likely to beat the Goldman-Sachs' of the world at their own game, because that now involves (indeed, requires) infrastructure to automatically execute trades at very high frequency, but there are growing opportunities to change the game.
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