But the oil barons ran national companies which were confronted by national politicians, whereas the data kings are global beasts. And aside from the myriad, essential ways data and oil differ, Dr Coscelli was clear in our interview that the nature of data is such that those who have it gain an exponential advantage over others. With a bit of data you can often get more, basically; whereas oil is finite. And so, over the past 15 years, Google and Facebook have developed astonishingly detailed profiles on half of humanity. They know a lot about you, me, our families, and the Smiths at No 72.