I find the nature of cloud computing fascinating. Just what is cloud computing? Well the folks at TED and Akamai.com put together a few videos on their ideas behind the cloud at http://www.akamai.com/html/misc/ted.html. Another site with a good definition of cloud computing is located at http://www.infoworld.com/d/cloud-computing/what-cloud-computing-really-means-031 .
The potential of the cloud is tremendous. Cloud computing has opened new methods of data storage and retrieval. It has opened new means of learning in the way we access and share knowledge. It may even be changing the way our memory works (Turkle, 1995). The following is a tetrad of my view of cloud computing.
What does cloud computing enhance? Storage and retrieval of data is a large part of the cloud. Many of the web 2.0 technologies we use today like wordpress, flickr, and other web based applications are possible because of the cloud. Additionally, the chrome operating system by Google functions completely in the cloud so load time is just a few seconds (http://articles.latimes.com/2010/dec/25/business/la-fi-google-laptop-20101225/2 ). Many applications, including those on smart phones and other mobile devices would not be available or functional without the cloud.
The nature of the cloud combined with web or cloud based applications and operating systems may eventually make the desktop PC obsolete or at least the disc drive and standalone operating system.
The information storage and retrieval capabilities of the cloud remind me of traditional libraries and data storage facilities. The large facilities are dedicated to information storage that can be accessed by individuals at time when the data is needed. However, they are limited by hours of operation and availability of stored data.
Finally, where is the cloud leading us? I can only speculate at this point. However, there could be a time when our own brains will have direct access to the cloud. This will be a true technological revolution on the part of humanity. I see it possible with the bio technology research that is ongoing at this time. Will technology become organic? Will circuits be grown instead of manufactured? Time will tell and as long as our heads are in the “cloud” the potential exists for us to make it there.
Turkle, S. (1995). Life on the screen: Identity in the age of the internet. New York: Simon and Schuster.