History of Data Collection

History of Data Collection

History of Data Collection

Data's evolution, from ancient census for taxation to modern big data analytics, reflects humanity's journey, emphasizing its overlooked yet crucial role in shaping history and future.

Data's evolution, from ancient census for taxation to modern big data analytics, reflects humanity's journey, emphasizing its overlooked yet crucial role in shaping history and future.

Data's evolution, from ancient census for taxation to modern big data analytics, reflects humanity's journey, emphasizing its overlooked yet crucial role in shaping history and future.

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data-collection-evolution-ai-workhack

The story of data and human history goes hand in hand. Even without us realizing it, both qualitative and quantitative forms of data have been an integral part of human progress from the days of the cave to sitting in front of screens. The sad part is that we take it for granted. But after this post, you may have a deeper appreciation for data.

Returning to the ancient times when there were kings and kingdoms, data collection began. Of course, it was not called data collection, but it was happening. Kings and their merchants documented and analyzed various forms of information, which we do not call census, a prominent form of data collection done across national and global scales today. Residents living in their respective areas were counted for tax collection. As this tax recording system began, the accounting field also started to emerge. Parallelly, the first-known ghostwriters also began to document lessons and historical events from scholars. One of the famous ones is Plato, who wrote on behalf of Socrates.

Those were the days of frequent wars and conflicts. Consequently, military expenditure and recruitment were tracked rigorously to know the losses and gains. Like we now have data-driven decision-making, back then, during wars, data was constantly used to determine the optimal strategies to win. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu was relatively high on using spies for collecting and reporting enemy plans and knowing about the terrain and weather for the optimal time to go to war.

Data started to evolve as the centuries passed, and we became more civilized in the medieval period. We began collecting social data like marriage, birth, and death. This represented a shift from purely financial and militaristic data towards social notions – bringing us to the doorstep of a more intricate and complex understanding of data. An extensive scale application of this is seen in the census, where we also include data on economic status, health parameters, and educational qualifications.

The most exciting things happened during the scientific revolution when data became "organized." It was not about collecting numbers per se but using them to tell a story. Guess what? This was when statistics and the more sophisticated form of it we use today - big data analytics - were born. Post this period, when we entered the age of the Industrial Revolution, data became even more critical. The concept of "efficient" and "productive" work was priced upon, leading to workplace reforms like 8-hour workdays for factories and schools. The simple idea of using collected information to make informed decisions evolved into something much more significant and impactful. That said, the essence remained - Data unveils whether we are progressing or regressing, guiding us to decide the missing links in our actions to bring better outcomes.

During the mid-1900s, the aftermath of World War II brought a deluge of data never seen before, including encrypted messages, coded communications, and military records - the dawn of a new era of data management. The conception of computing technology was of monumental importance as the rapid advancements in technology laid the foundation of our current understanding of data. Fast forward to the digital age, we saw data become more diverse and creative. It now ranges from generating website traffic, knowing consumer behavior, and predicting future trends to even dissecting a person's digital footprint.

So, what's the point of all this? Understand how far we've come and how seemingly ordinary things today are rooted in history. What started as a rudimentary and borderline primitive method to count people and check for credit has become an integral part of our daily lives, a tool shaping our future and current behaviors. The story of data is the story of humanity itself - a tale of our journey from simple beginnings to an exciting, data-driven future. Hence, the next time you see a form, survey, or questionnaire, imagine what this was back when it began - taking headcounts of people who are alive and owe money to the kingdom.

The story of data and human history goes hand in hand. Even without us realizing it, both qualitative and quantitative forms of data have been an integral part of human progress from the days of the cave to sitting in front of screens. The sad part is that we take it for granted. But after this post, you may have a deeper appreciation for data.

Returning to the ancient times when there were kings and kingdoms, data collection began. Of course, it was not called data collection, but it was happening. Kings and their merchants documented and analyzed various forms of information, which we do not call census, a prominent form of data collection done across national and global scales today. Residents living in their respective areas were counted for tax collection. As this tax recording system began, the accounting field also started to emerge. Parallelly, the first-known ghostwriters also began to document lessons and historical events from scholars. One of the famous ones is Plato, who wrote on behalf of Socrates.

Those were the days of frequent wars and conflicts. Consequently, military expenditure and recruitment were tracked rigorously to know the losses and gains. Like we now have data-driven decision-making, back then, during wars, data was constantly used to determine the optimal strategies to win. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu was relatively high on using spies for collecting and reporting enemy plans and knowing about the terrain and weather for the optimal time to go to war.

Data started to evolve as the centuries passed, and we became more civilized in the medieval period. We began collecting social data like marriage, birth, and death. This represented a shift from purely financial and militaristic data towards social notions – bringing us to the doorstep of a more intricate and complex understanding of data. An extensive scale application of this is seen in the census, where we also include data on economic status, health parameters, and educational qualifications.

The most exciting things happened during the scientific revolution when data became "organized." It was not about collecting numbers per se but using them to tell a story. Guess what? This was when statistics and the more sophisticated form of it we use today - big data analytics - were born. Post this period, when we entered the age of the Industrial Revolution, data became even more critical. The concept of "efficient" and "productive" work was priced upon, leading to workplace reforms like 8-hour workdays for factories and schools. The simple idea of using collected information to make informed decisions evolved into something much more significant and impactful. That said, the essence remained - Data unveils whether we are progressing or regressing, guiding us to decide the missing links in our actions to bring better outcomes.

During the mid-1900s, the aftermath of World War II brought a deluge of data never seen before, including encrypted messages, coded communications, and military records - the dawn of a new era of data management. The conception of computing technology was of monumental importance as the rapid advancements in technology laid the foundation of our current understanding of data. Fast forward to the digital age, we saw data become more diverse and creative. It now ranges from generating website traffic, knowing consumer behavior, and predicting future trends to even dissecting a person's digital footprint.

So, what's the point of all this? Understand how far we've come and how seemingly ordinary things today are rooted in history. What started as a rudimentary and borderline primitive method to count people and check for credit has become an integral part of our daily lives, a tool shaping our future and current behaviors. The story of data is the story of humanity itself - a tale of our journey from simple beginnings to an exciting, data-driven future. Hence, the next time you see a form, survey, or questionnaire, imagine what this was back when it began - taking headcounts of people who are alive and owe money to the kingdom.

The story of data and human history goes hand in hand. Even without us realizing it, both qualitative and quantitative forms of data have been an integral part of human progress from the days of the cave to sitting in front of screens. The sad part is that we take it for granted. But after this post, you may have a deeper appreciation for data.

Returning to the ancient times when there were kings and kingdoms, data collection began. Of course, it was not called data collection, but it was happening. Kings and their merchants documented and analyzed various forms of information, which we do not call census, a prominent form of data collection done across national and global scales today. Residents living in their respective areas were counted for tax collection. As this tax recording system began, the accounting field also started to emerge. Parallelly, the first-known ghostwriters also began to document lessons and historical events from scholars. One of the famous ones is Plato, who wrote on behalf of Socrates.

Those were the days of frequent wars and conflicts. Consequently, military expenditure and recruitment were tracked rigorously to know the losses and gains. Like we now have data-driven decision-making, back then, during wars, data was constantly used to determine the optimal strategies to win. In The Art of War, Sun Tzu was relatively high on using spies for collecting and reporting enemy plans and knowing about the terrain and weather for the optimal time to go to war.

Data started to evolve as the centuries passed, and we became more civilized in the medieval period. We began collecting social data like marriage, birth, and death. This represented a shift from purely financial and militaristic data towards social notions – bringing us to the doorstep of a more intricate and complex understanding of data. An extensive scale application of this is seen in the census, where we also include data on economic status, health parameters, and educational qualifications.

The most exciting things happened during the scientific revolution when data became "organized." It was not about collecting numbers per se but using them to tell a story. Guess what? This was when statistics and the more sophisticated form of it we use today - big data analytics - were born. Post this period, when we entered the age of the Industrial Revolution, data became even more critical. The concept of "efficient" and "productive" work was priced upon, leading to workplace reforms like 8-hour workdays for factories and schools. The simple idea of using collected information to make informed decisions evolved into something much more significant and impactful. That said, the essence remained - Data unveils whether we are progressing or regressing, guiding us to decide the missing links in our actions to bring better outcomes.

During the mid-1900s, the aftermath of World War II brought a deluge of data never seen before, including encrypted messages, coded communications, and military records - the dawn of a new era of data management. The conception of computing technology was of monumental importance as the rapid advancements in technology laid the foundation of our current understanding of data. Fast forward to the digital age, we saw data become more diverse and creative. It now ranges from generating website traffic, knowing consumer behavior, and predicting future trends to even dissecting a person's digital footprint.

So, what's the point of all this? Understand how far we've come and how seemingly ordinary things today are rooted in history. What started as a rudimentary and borderline primitive method to count people and check for credit has become an integral part of our daily lives, a tool shaping our future and current behaviors. The story of data is the story of humanity itself - a tale of our journey from simple beginnings to an exciting, data-driven future. Hence, the next time you see a form, survey, or questionnaire, imagine what this was back when it began - taking headcounts of people who are alive and owe money to the kingdom.

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