As you might imagine, crunching through enormous datasets to extract patterns requires a LOT of computer processing power. In the 1960s they simply didn’t have machines powerful enough to do it, which is why that boom failed. In the 1980s the computers were powerful enough, but they discovered that machines only learn effectively when the volume of data being fed to them is large enough, and they were unable to source large enough amounts of data to feed the machines.
Then came the internet. Not only did it solve the computing problem once and for all through the innovations of cloud computing – which essentially allow us to access as many processors as we need at the touch of a button – but people on the internet have been generating more data every day than has ever been produced in the entire history of planet earth. The amount of data being produced on a constant basis is absolutely mind-boggling.