This is about the Oceans, but the message here for me is the steady increase in the amount of data we’re generating about the world:

“Chartering an oceanographic vessel costs $20,000 a day,” he says. “So we need a way to get more data more cheaply and we need as many options for getting it as possible.”

I’m reminded of the famous Harvard undergrad paper that Michael Lewis used in his book, the Big Short. The innovation of AK Barnett-Hart was not in her ability to use some fancy new technique on the data, but to sleuth out a data set that anybody could have worked on. Analytical capabilities are a commodity, now.

Human progress right now seems to be wedded to our ability to collect useful new data that we can work with. That is also my iron law of financial innovation: no new data? No innoation for you!

Robin Hanson says that until we can massively increase Humans’ ability to work with information (services economy, etc), we’ll never substantially increase economic growth.