"52 cm, 4.3 kg, boy" - makes aunts squeal and friends whip out cigars.
"191 cm, 80.5 kg, male" - that does not land anyone a job nor any interest from any "aunt".
Same object, 50 years difference.
I'm expected to have a story, we're all expected to have stories.
And good is that as stories imparts knowledge, transparency (trust) and creates interest - where have you been, what did you do there, who did you meet, what happened to you there - and "knowledge is good" (freely quoted from National Lampoon's Animal House).
OK, think Seth and Cathy and Hugh meant well delivered, colourful, purple cow'ish stories. But nevertheless.
Now skip and jump to software.
Any enterprise system has data about an object - size, colour, frame number, etc. of a bike. That's it. "52 cm, 7.8 kg, mtb, #3764/90,..".
What if the object also were able to capture it's own history? Since birth, everything that happened to it, where it's been who it met and what they did to it? Even if it's a bike.
Then the object could deliver all that I need for whatever kind of report and account I could dream of (we know when and where it's been and what has happened to it).
Even industrial products would have a "story", "industrial scale provenance" as Hugh coined it.
A data-object representing the real-object imparting more knowledge about the real-object than itself. Kind of.
That's what we're doing with the thingamy. Creating story-telling objects.