Re: What it will take for people to change
Data and oil are very different. Oil is a source of energy. Energy is useful.
The physical usefulness to the end user is not relevant to the producer. Even for oil producers, they produce and sell oil because other people will give them money for it. Management consultancies produce Powerpoint slides because people will give them money for it. Newspapers used to produce newspapers because people gave them money for them, and so it goes on.
The lack of tangibility is irrelevant, all that matters is whether something you have can be exchanged for money. I'd agree with your other comments about advertising being a self-referential scam, but so long as some people believe a commodity has value, then it most certainly does. I suspect that what you can say about data is that its value is over-believed by about three orders of magnitude, and that big data is enjoying its South Sea Bubble moment. Every company in the land is kidding itself that it can either "monetise" its customer data, either by selling it on, or by somehow being able to sell a load more tat to its own customers. When companies realise that (for example) the energy consumption data for a household over a whole year is worth a couple of quid or less, and that having that data exposes them to existential business risk, it will all start to cool down. The ad-slingers will still be operating a scam on ad-buyers, but that's always been the case.