Wednesday, July 6, 2011


This post has words about technology followed by some music:

Apple’s overt commitment to the dominant model of cloud computing and its vision of highly portable, slimmed down machines that function primarily as access points to networks of “private” and public data was perhaps the most overt endorsement of this model by any large hardware manufacturer. As alluring as it may be, the promise of actually practical multi-touch and the other as of yet unrealized platforms built specifically to take advantage of the cloud has fogged over some of the consequences of relying on such a system. One of the key considerations is how this shift will affect content creation by individuals, specifically as it applies to creating and editing music and digital multimedia objects.

Two generations’ preferred methods of self-expression have been shaped by an unprecedented access to powerful, portable computers. Visual artists, designers, filmmakers, and musicians have embraced software and accessories designed to operate with these machines, giving the personal laptop the role of studio, editing suite, portfolio storage space, reference library, performance aid, and nearly everything in between. Apple itself helped create this phenomenon, with its best-selling MacBook having become almost standard issue equipment for incoming college freshmen.

What of it? While, in the long term and especially if you’re a transhumanist, the shift to the cloud will probably be a good thing, the short term poses a few problems.

With consumer computing likely shifting towards lighter, less powerful “network portals,” the demand for other computing platforms will at some point drop. In turn, making machines equivalent to what was once viewed as standard more expensive. The pacing of how quickly the general public comes to rely on these cloud-dependent devices and services will determine how disruptive this is. After all, computers are getting exponentially faster all the time, so theoretically, these more portable devices will become powerful enough to fill the roles of their less sexy predecessors. Though it’s likely they eventually will, keep in mind that the newest computing technologies take time to filter down to consumer platforms. Like I said, it’s a possible short-term problem. Long-term, your smaller devices will likely be able to link wirelessly to form a modular computing system or you’ll have 8 chips in your brain. Magic. Something cool.

Secondly, think about what exactly will you be accessing from these nodes. In addition to all the stuff you’d currently expect to find on uh, the Internet, the majority of your personal data storage will likely be held on remote servers, rather than a hard drive in your physical proximity or integrated into your computer. At the time of writing, iPads are already creating 1% of global web traffic. That’s admittedly small for now, but for perspective, consider that iPhones currently make up 2.9% of web traffic in the United States, with Android phones coming in close behind at 2.6%. this clearly demonstrates the quick proliferation and bandwidth reliant nature of the device. Adoption of similar platforms and their increased emphasis on streamed media and reliance remote access to data will create a general need for greater bandwidth that there may or may not be infrastructure for. Currently: infrastructure not there. Later on: hope so.

Not to mention the vulnerable nature of the services that depend on the cloud. If a cloud server goes, everything relying on it for data storage goes, too.

The cloud is exciting because it is a powerful, possibly world changing concept whose biggest boons and dangers are likely yet to be imagined. In the long term, it will likely reshape the creative inclinations of those who have access to it in new ways as well.

I’ve put some thought into this, but if you’ve put more, please do share. What are you the most excited about for the future of cloud computing? What are your concerns?

Now here is some music I think is worth hearing and images worth seeing: