Data is eating the world and there are numerous indicators of its ubiquitous presence in our lives. From fueling the recent success of “artificial intelligence” (AI) and the rise of “digital transformation” to its accelerated growth due to Covid-19 to new approaches to its “monetization” (finding money in mining data, a growing practice since at least the 1970s) to how it makes businesses and consumers both anxious and animated, data dominates our deeds, debates, and dreams.

Here’s the data on the state-of-data in the first quarter of 2021.

The future of work now…

22 percentage of all full work days that will be supplied from home after the pandemic ends, compared with just 5% before [BFI/University of Chicago]

73 percentage of people on hybrid work worldwide that want flexible work-from-home policies to stay [Microsoft]

-1.6 percentage decline in an industry’s employment which is associated with 20% increase in robot adoption in that industry [American Economic Association]

10.9 percentage increase in employment (total hours of work) in firms adopting robots, from 2010 to 2015 [American Economic Association]


22 percentage of Americans that say their job has become automated due to the pandemic [University of Phoenix]

42 percentage of Americans that say they are worried that their job skills will become outdated because of advancements in technology [University of Phoenix]

48 percentage of companies surveyed that said they look for candidates with a Data Science background [ACM]

76 percentage annual increase of the average number of data scientists employed [Algorithmia]

73 percentage of data science and analytics teams that are planning to hire during in the first half of 2021, up from 67% in the same period of 2020 [Burtch Works]

34,000 the number of U.S. job postings requiring both cyber skills and AI skills in 2019, up from only a few hundred in 2010; during that period, the categories of cyber jobs and AI jobs grew by approximately 265% and 1,300%, respectively [CSET]

47 seconds the time it took to train an AI system to the highest accuracy in image identification in 2020, down from 6.2 minutes in 2018 [2021 AI Index Report]

$7.43 the cost in cloud computing resources to train an AI system to the highest accuracy in image identification in 2020, down from $1,000 in 2017 [2021 AI Index Report]

85 percentage of remote-working employees in the U.S. and U.K. that are sending more emails than before the pandemic [Egress]

77 percentage of remote-working employees in the U.S. and U.K. that are using video conferencing tools more frequently than before the pandemic [Egress]

40.6 billion the annual increase in the number of delivered emails in 2020 [Microsoft]

45 percentage increase in chat traffic among Teams users in 2020 [Microsoft]

72 the median response time (in minutes) to emails; for Slack (chat) users the median response time is 16.3 minutes [WSJ]

“Group chat is like a hot tub. You should get in and get out, not sit in it all day”–Nir Eyal

The digital life…

51 exabytes the monthly global mobile data traffic (51 billion gigabytes) at the end of 2020, up from 5 exabytes at the end of 2015 [Ericsson]

66 percentage share of video traffic of all mobile data traffic at the end of 2020 [Ericsson]

108.5 billion the number of apps downloaded by Android users in 2020, 28% more than in 2019 []

1,955,208 the number of miles driven on public roads by the self-driving cars of 29 companies in California in 2020, experiencing a total of 3,695 disengagements [The Last Driver License Holder]

27 percentage of Americans aged 18-34 that are “very likely” to ride in a self-driving car [Emerging Tech Brew/Harris]

10 percentage of Americans aged 55+ that are “very likely” to ride in a self-driving car [Emerging Tech Brew/Harris]

54 percentage of U.S. banking customers that had used at least one FinTech app in the past year [Consumer Action]

73 percentage of U.S. consumers that say they’d rather have more privacy even if it meant having to pay for more apps or services than they currently do [IDFA/Singular]

$69.3 million the selling price for a digital image by the self-taught artist Beeple (Mike Winkelmann)–the most expensive digital asset to ever sell with an accompanying digital certificate of authenticity known as a non-fungible token, or NFT [WSJ]

$380,000 the selling price for an original Bansky, burnt and destroyed in a livestreamed video, sold via NFT technology [BBC]

$2.9 million the selling price for “just setting up my twttr” (as an NFT), the first tweet that Jack Dorsey posted to the microblogging site in 2006 [WSJ]

$688,888 the selling price for a digital artwork created by Sophia the robot in collaboration with an Italian artist, sold at auction as an NFT [NYT]

131.6 million the number of U.S. digital grocery buyers in 2020, about 52% of the U.S. adult (18+) population [eMarketer]

44.6 percentage of U.S. homeowners that purchased smart home products (smart home assistants, smart lights, and smart speakers) in the past year [Hippo]

33 annual growth in 2020 of the U.S. digital home/mobile entertainment market (e.g., VOD, Paid Streaming) [Motion Picture Association]

58 percentage of 55+ in the U.K. that do not plan to reduce the frequency of their online shopping once lockdown measures ease [IAB UK]

63 percentage increase in time spent on personal finance/trading mobile apps from March 2020 to February 2021 [GWS]

22 decrease in minutes per week in sports app usage by fans from March 2020 to February 2021 [GWS]

380 percentage increase in time spent creating TikTok videos from March 2020 to February 2021 [GWS]

44 percentage of Americans aged 12-34 that are using TikTok, up from 25% in 2020 [Edison Research]

80 million the number of Americans (28% of the U.S. 12+ population) that were weekly podcast listeners in March 2021, a 17% increase over 2020 [Edison Research]

94 million the number of Americans (33% of the U.S. 12+ population) that now own a smart speaker, up 22% from 2020 [Edison Research]

20 percentage of Americans 12+ that have watched a live stream of a videogame; 10% broadcast their own games [Edison Research]

16,500 the number of Bitcoin ATMs installed worldwide in March 2021, up 70% in the last six months [TradingPlatforms]

“My Wife is leaving because bitcoin… She super mad that I didn’t sell at 60k”–Parking_Meater

48 percentage of Americans that do not know how much data they can use in a month with their internet connection [HighSpeedInternet]

37 percentage of Americans that say they maxed out their internet data cap limit during the pandemic [HighSpeedInternet]

59 percentage of Americans that say movie and TV streaming consumes most of their internet bandwidth, with 18% saying the majority of their data usage is from gaming [HighSpeedInternet]

486 the number of times U.S. legislation and congressional reports mentioned AI during the 2019-20 session, a threefold increase over the previous session [2021 AI Index Report]

79 percentage of Indians that believe going cashless would have a positive impact on their country, making it the country most in favor of a cashless society; U.S. is in 15th place worldwide, with only 24% in favor of complete shift to electronic payments [YouGov]

19 percentage increase in online-transactions volumes worldwide in 2020 [The Economist]

45 percentage share of online payments of all retail payments tracked by Mastercard in 2020 [The Economist]

“The fact of the matter is digital is the way everything is going to be purchased. The more digital you do, the more data you get”–Kevin Vasconi, CIO, Wendy’s

The trouble with data…

60 percentage of Americans that believe it is likely that identity theft will cause them a financial loss in the next year [AICPA/Harris]

49 percentage of Americans that update their passwords more than once a year; 9% never update their passwords [AICPA/Harris]

9 billion the number of scans of American citizens’ license plates in the database of Vigilant Solutions, or 30 license-plate scans for every registered vehicle, up from 450 million scans a decade ago [WSJ]

“We wouldn’t be working with technology that we didn’t think the benefits to society didn’t far outweigh the downsides”–Paul Steinberg, senior vice president of technology, Motorola (which owns Vigilant Solutions)

38 percentage of U.S. consumers who said in March 2021 they were targeted by digital fraud related to Covid-19 in the last three months, up from 26% in April 2020 [TransUnion]

28,500 the number of complaints related to Covid-19 received by the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center in 2020, with fraudsters targeting both businesses and individuals [FBI]

$4.2 billion reported losses associated with the 791,790 complaints of suspected internet crime the FBI received in 2020, up from 300,000 in 2019 [FBI]

7 percentage of 67 Chinese apps that support facial recognition that were found to have clear facial recognition usage agreements and obtain user permission beforehand [The Beijing News/ChinAI]

3 billion the number of photos of individuals Clearview AI has scraped from the internet to search for matches using facial-recognition algorithms [WSJ]

“As a dad I was pretty upset about it. It’s an image put out there of my daughter that is simply not true”–George Ratel, reacting to charges brought against a woman who created ‘deepfake’ videos to harass rivals on her daughter’s cheerleading squad

The human side of data…

43 percentage of 16-21 year-olds in the U.S., U.K. and Germany that consider themselves to be data literate [Exasol]

55 percentage of 16-21 year-olds in the U.S., U.K. and Germany that said they can read, work with, analyze and argue with statistics [Exasol]

24.7 percentage of 672 U.S. undergraduate institutions that offer a Data Science major, while 16% offer a minor [ACM]

65 percentage of newly minted AI-related PhDs in North America in 2020 that took jobs with private companies rather than academia or government, up from 44% in 2010 [2021 AI Index Report]

34.5 percentage annual increase in 2020 of the number of AI journal publications [2021 AI Index Report]

Data monetization…

$43 billion the total amount of funding received in 2020 by over 2,800 AI start-ups worldwide from more than 3,700 VC investors [GlobalData]

$53.56 Facebook’s revenue per user in the U.S. and Canada in Q4 2020 [Facebook]

9.3 percentage increase in worldwide private investment in AI in 2020, with drug development leading private investments with nearly $13.8 billion compared to just under $2.5 billion in 2019 [2021 AI Index Report]

$15.3 billion the total funding U.S.-based companies offering services over the internet raised across 687 financing deals in the fourth quarter of 2020, 50% higher than the same period in 2019 [WSJ]

“Every one of these customers is coming through our digital front end, so we have their email, we have their text message, and we have the ability to communicate with them regularly”–Jonathan Roberts, COO, CVS

AI is in business…

80 percentage of global corporate executives surveyed by Deloitte in mid-2020 that said they had implemented some form of robotic process automation (RPA) in the past year [WSJ]

50 percentage of business executives that have deployed or are planning to deploy AI initiatives across 5 of 7 business unit categories within the next 12 months [Informa]

76 percentage of organizations that say they prioritize AI and machine learning over other IT initiatives [Algorithmia]

59 percentage of marketers that say AI capabilities are extremely important for achieving their marketing priorities for 2021 [Tealium]

39 percentage of software developers and IT executives that said they increased their investment in data analytics tools and technology in 2020; 41% saw an increase in customer requests for access to data and analytics [Reveal]

87 percentage of IT executives (surveyed in U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, and China) that reported their organizations lacked the budget they need to analyze the data they are storing; 59% expect their data to grow by more than 50% in 2021 [calcalistech]

300 percentage increase from before the Covid pandemic in companies’ conducting at least 80% of their customer interactions digitally [McKinsey]

88 percentage of U.S. business leaders from small companies that say AI technology helped their company during the COVID-19 outbreak [KPMG]

79 percentage of learning and development leaders that say online training during the pandemic produced better outcomes than in-person [NovoEd]

93 percentage of U.S. financial services business leaders that are confident in AI’s ability to detect fraud, up from 85% in 2020 [KPMG]

86 percentage of U.S. tech business leaders that believe the government has a role to play in regulating AI technology, up 17% from 2020 [KPMG]

The health of data and AI…

600,000 the number of Covid-19 cases the NHS Covid-19 app is estimated to have prevented by telling 1.7 million people in England and Wales to self-isolate [BBC]

60 percentage of physicians reporting that telehealth has improved the health of their patients [AMA]

“Healthcare has a reputation for amassing an enormous amount of data and then doing very little with it”–James Beem, managing director of healthcare intelligence, J.D. Power

90 percentage of U.S. hospitals that have an AI/automation strategy in place, up from 53% in 2019 [Sage Growth Partners]

7 percentage od U.S. hospitals that report their AI strategy is truly operational [Sage Growth Partners]

25 percentage reduction in hospital readmission rates after implementing AI-based clinical decision support [PubMed]

“There is every reason to expect more dramatic effects over the long term, particularly on companies that decide to make extensive and ambitious use of AI”–Tom Davenport

The AI arms race…

20.7 China’s share of AI journal citations in 2020, overtaking the U.S. (with 19.8% share) for the first time [2021 AI Index Report]

44.6 the U.S. score on a 100-point scale of AI capabilities (using 30 metrics, including talent, R&D, commercial development and adoption rates), followed by China with 32.0 and the EU with 23.3 [Center for Data Innovation]

308 the number of Chinese venture-capital deals in U.S. companies in 2020, the most since the all-time high in 2016 [Horizon Advisory]

100 billion the number of parameters that the largest pretrained model in Chinese can handle; trained on paired images (1.9 terrabytes) and text (292 gigabytes), it accurately answers questions about specific images [Arxiv]

84,384 the number of AI papers that had at least one author affiliated with India, published between 2010 and 2019; “while China and the United States are clear leaders, Indian AI-relevant research production ranks fourth, closely behind the United Kingdom and ahead of Germany and Japan” [CSET]

When analog meets digital…

83 ad-supported and subscription-based streaming’s share of U.S. music industry revenues in 2020, up from less than 10% in 2010 [Recording Industry association of America]

-97 percentage decrease in sales of CDs in the U.S. since peaking in 2000 [Recording Industry association of America]

200 billion the number of CDs that have been sold worldwide since they were introduced in 1982 [BBC]

100 billion the number of cassette tapes that have been sold worldwide since they were introduced in the 1960s [BBC]

-26% annual shrinking in 2020 of the U.S. physical home/mobile entertainment market (e.g., Blue-Rays, DVDs) [Motion Picture Association]

The state of data, 1830s…

“In the early 1800s, the proprietors of the [London] banks… formally created the Bankers’ Clearing House… [In 1832, Charles] Babbage described the operation of the Bankers’ Clearing House almost in terms of an algorithm though one executed by people, not machinery. He wrote: “In a large room in Lombard Street, about 30 clerks from the several London bankers take their stations, in alphabetical order, at desks placed round the room; each having a small open box by his side, and the name of the firm to which he belongs in large characters on the wall above his head. From time to time, other clerks from every house enter the room, and, passing along, drop into the box the checks due by that firm to the house from which this distributor is sent.”… By adding up all the checks on which it owed money, and all those on which it had to pay out, a bank could calculate exactly the total amount it would have to pay out or would receive that day… In the year 1839, GBP954 million was cleared, equivalent to $250 billion in today’s currency… By the 1980s, electronic data transfer eliminated much of the physical handling of data. But…the underlying information system was little altered. The longevity of information systems is one of the great lessons of computer history”–Martin Campbell-Kelly, Communications of the ACM

Read More – Feedzy