19 April 2011
Cloud Computing: Next Step to a Computerized America
The topic of cloud computing is an interesting one. Recently, America has taken several steps further to creating a theoretical society through the Internet. A lot of people don’t understand what this “cloud” really is. As popular author Nicholas Carr said, cloud computing is going to lead to a “World Wide Computer,” one that will know everything about us from how we use it (“Part 2”). Is this just a great advancement in technology? Is it something we should be afraid of? Cloud computing could result in the majority of the population trusting in a single, unknown “external party” ...view middle of the document...
In his book The Big Switch, Nicholas Carr explains how our beloved World Wide Web is becoming what he refers to as a “World Wide Computer” (107). The change that is taking place is recognized by most people as technological advancements and they would say that this is a great thing. Although it’s true they are advancements, they don’t necessarily qualify as positive changes.
In the 1990’s, Sun Microsystems coined the slogan “The Network Is the Computer” (Carr 113). At that time most people found this catchy, but meaningless. Nowadays this slogan should make sense to everybody; “the network – the Internet, that is – has become, literally, our computer,” as Carr put it. What this indicates is that all of our programs and services we use on our computers are now run through or using the Internet. If not they have downloaded software taken from the Internet and stored onto your computer’s hard drive so that the program can run successfully without the Internet. But, especially recently, with all of our social network programs like Facebook, the Internet knows everything. How exactly does the Internet have this infinite amount of processing information and space? It can all be explained with a simple term called “cloud computing,” or what Carr refers to as the World Wide Computer (115).
Eric Schmidt, an employee of Sun Microsystems when it created its prophetic slogan, didn’t call it a World Wide Computer but rather “the computer in the cloud” (qtd. in Carr 113). What he meant by this is that computing no longer takes a fixed, concrete form, but rather it occurs in the Internet’s ever shifting cloud of data, software, and devices. Basically, by designating all of our programs to the Internet instead of discs that we install it gives us the opportunity to get information conveniently, but all of these programs are “floating” around together, which in turn lets them run off of and with each other. By essentially combining all of these services we’ve created a “cloud” of software and information that all works together to give us whatever we want, how cool is that?
The problem that we could be running into, or are running into as Carr believes, is that keeping all of our information in a cloud stored on the Internet gives people the capability to see it. Although that service was deemed confidential there are a lot of people out there, not to mention the program’s creators, which know more than we do and could easily access them. In saying that I’ll add that anyone’s webcam on their computer can be remotely activated, meaning someone with the knowledge and power to do so can watch you if they please. A sadly perfect example of this is that of Tyler Clementi. A young man who was a freshman at Rutgers was unknowingly taped through his own webcam having sexual affairs with a male partner. The next day after being violently humiliated he jumped off a building, falling to his death. This adds onto Carr’s point that “soon, the World Wide Computer will...