A major outgrowth of the Digital Age has been the mass production of data. It’s become such a recognized sensation that people started saying that “data is the new oil”. There are really two categories of data: public data and private data. The Internet is the largest oil well of public data and is unique because it’s an ever-increasing resource. Private data is mostly concentrated on private servers, especially in Clouds, and contains sensitive information that people either don’t want to freely share or don’t want seen. It shouldn’t really be surprising anymore that many of the largest companies in the world own the most data, like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Baidu. Most of the data gathered today is done through the use of applications, such as Google gathering data based off search results, or Facebook gathering data based off your social profile, or even Amazon gathering data based off people’s spending habits. Essentially, companies host applications that consumers willing use and then collect data metrics based off their activity. There are also open-source applications that anyone can derive metrics from like markets, sports, or open case records. However, to harness intelligence capable of making quick judgments like humans, there must be access to real-time data. Until recently, real-time data has been hard to come by, but now, thanks to some major innovations in sensor and actuator technology, it’s become a real reality. All types of sensor activity is possible, such as sensors that measure temperature, location, speed, acceleration, depth, pressure, blood chemistry, air quality, color, photo-scanning, voice scanning, biometrics, electric, and magnetic force. Normally, humans are required to take such measurements, but that is quickly changing due to the mass production of cheap, yet accurate sensors and actuators. They’re not only placed in the environment, but within machines, like industrial machinery and robotics, and within/on humans, like a Fit or high-tech pacemakers. If there is going to be an autonomous economy, there needs to be a river of real-time information constantly flowing. The only way that autonomous action is effective is if it can respond quickly with confident judgments. Having the ability to monitor intricate details in real-time about a facility, its equipment, the environment it operates in, and even its workers (humans or robots), is transformational on many levels and has yet to be seen in mass. Essentially, everything, both physical to non-physical, is being brought online as data into an interconnected web, hence the name, the Internet of Things. It’s the human senses in digital form. However, raw data is only as good as the filtering mechanism that analyzes it. Without proper analysis, applications would be like animals acting off instinct, which is why artificial intelligence is an important component of automation.