Data, the fourth sector and the key to the future

The division between primary, secondary and tertiary sectors has been used for a long time, but when the information revolution comes, this division will be found to be inadequate and behind the times.

The primary sector is agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishing, which obtain their products directly from nature, and the key elements are natural resources such as land, forests and the sea. The secondary sector refers to industry, where the key elements are machinery and equipment. The tertiary sector refers to services.

As all industries that cannot be classified as primary and secondary are classified as tertiary sectors, the division of tertiary industries has become haphazard and redundant with the rise of more new technologies — including both traditional services such as finance, logistics, communications, education, consulting, intermediation and catering, as well as the internet, big data and all the division of the tertiary sector was originally intended to include the traditional service industries such as finance, logistics, communications, education, consulting, intermediation and catering, as well as all the new industries that have emerged in recent decades, such as the Internet and big data.

The original purpose of the division of the three sectors was to measure the impact of the economic structure on the economy and society, but now that human society has developed into an era of higher order civilization — the digital age — and the digital economy is becoming a huge engine of economic development, it is impossible to accurately measure the industrial structure if the data industry is still classified as a tertiary sector in general terms. advanced.

A completely new classification criterion is thus proposed.

1. Classify traditional services such as finance, logistics, education and catering in the tertiary sector

2. Classify the data industry as a quaternary sector

Reasons for classifying the data industry as a quaternary sector

The data industry is an industry created in the digital era based on data, including a series of new industries such as data collection, processing, storage, transmission and processing, etc. Its key element is data.Data is classified as the fourth sector because of its disruptive, leading, pervasive and global characteristics.

1. Disruptive

The emergence of breakthrough technologies often brings about disruptive changes. Farming technology put an end to the wandering life of ancient mankind, and industrial technology made material production significantly more efficient. And the data industry is the industry of the digital age, which is also changing and influencing every aspect of society on all fronts. Everything is digital or about to be digital, and humans can even live most of their lives in a completely digital virtual space — a metaverse. The digital industry is no less transformative than the rise of farming and industrial technology which has human society upside down.

2. Leading the way

From the agrarian era to the industrial era and now to the era when the service sector is leading the economy, the invention of new technologies has been a powerful driving force for economic development. The development of the secondary sector has been marked by a distinctive history and era, with the primary sector exploding in the agricultural and pastoral era, the secondary sector in the industrial era and the tertiary sector in the modern era. The explosion here refers to the beginning of dominance in the social economy.

The performance of many modern economies shows that the more developed the economy, the higher the share of the tertiary sector. The United States, for example, has a tertiary sector share of 80%, while Germany, which values industry and is an industrial nation, has a tertiary sector share of over 70%.

If the data industry is classified as the fourth sector, then the fourth sector will be a huge industrial empire, because the data industry can cover almost all aspects of society, from the smallest to each person’s social network, consumption information and movement trajectory, to the large enterprise’s sales and operation data and product production data. Everything is data, and data encompasses everything. It is undeniable that the data industry is becoming a huge engine leading economic development.

3. Permeability

Although the data industry can be classified as an independent industry, its characteristics are that it integrates everything, it permeates millions of industries and is intertwined with many industries.

Digital banking, digital hospitals, digital campuses, and digital government, are all industries where the data industry is integrated with many other industries, and many traditional industries have been or are being digitized. In the future, no company or institution can be separated from the digitalization process, and digital government projects are in full swing in many countries.

The fourth sector will integrate the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, so we can see the digitization of agriculture, the digitization of industry and the digitization of services, with the data industry being the terminus of a convergence.

4. Virtuality

The virtual nature of the data is a major difference to the key elements of the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, which are all visible and physical products. Although the service sector, which is called the tertiary sector, also has virtual characteristics, its virtual nature is based on the physical space as the background, such as the logistics industry needs to rely on entities such as transportation facilities and trucks, and the medical industry needs to rely on entities such as hospitals and medical equipment, based on this physical space to form the corresponding complete service.

The virtual nature of the data industry is even better, as it is easy to circulate and reproduce. Data breaks the physical space barrier and can be transferred from one end of the earth to the other instantly, and can be reproduced countless times in a short period of time, allowing unprecedented freedom, efficiency and fluidity of communication, which was almost unimaginable in the agricultural and industrial eras.

The key to the future

From the primary to the tertiary sector, the key element is a process that is from fixed to circulating, from tangible to intangible, and from the physical to the virtual.

In his book “The 7 Principles of the Future”, futurist and technology development consultant Daniel Burrus summarizes a set of eight rules for the evolution of technology development: dematerialization, virtualization, mobility, product intelligence, networking, interaction, globalization and convergence.

From the predictions of future gurus and the laws of world development, the data industry already represents the latest future, which has various characteristics such as virtualization, mobility, interactive talk, globalization and convergence. With the combined forces of bandwidth, algorithms and storage, the data industry is experiencing an explosion.

Another renowned futurist, Kevin Kelly, predicted in his 1994 book “Out of Control” that the future would be virtualized and mobile, a prediction that is highly consistent with Daniel Burrus’. At the same time, Kevin Kelly also put forward the idea that everything would evolve and develop on its own, without being controlled by centralization, at a time when concepts such as Bitcoin and blockchain had not yet emerged.

Today, the idea of decentralization has emerged in the technology sector and is beginning to influence every aspect of society. The collision between this concept and data has given rise to decentralized data-related industries such as decentralized networking, decentralized social networking and decentralized storage, which form independent and connected industries in terms of data collection and circulation, data privacy, data interaction and data storage, respectively, and ultimately change the world. and ultimately change the world.

Data + decentralization is the key to the future. Data only changes the shape of the industry, while decentralization changes the organization of society and the distribution of rights, changing the ideology of society as a whole.

In this industry of the future, MEMO provides a decentralized data storage service that will work together with bandwidth and algorithms to support this project of supporting the future. This future is on the horizon.



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MEMO is a new-gen blockchain decentralized cloud storage protocol. Our mission is to build a reliable storage infrastructure for the Web3 era.