Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The World Wide Computer, Monopolies and Control

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-cant-do-that-dave dept.

The Internet 129

Ian Lamont writes "Nick Carr has generated a lot of discussion following his recent comments about the IT department fading away, but there are several other points he is trying to make about the rise of utility computing. He believes that the Web has evolved into a massive, programmable computer (the "World Wide Computer") that essentially lets any person or organization customize it to meet their needs. This relates to another trend he sees — a shift toward centralization. Carr draws interesting parallels to the rise of electricity suppliers during the Industrial Revolution. He says in a book excerpt printed on his blog that while decentralized technologies — the PC, Internet, etc. — can empower individuals, institutions have proven to be quite skilled at reestablishing control. 'Even though the Internet still has no center, technically speaking, control can now be wielded, through software code, from anywhere. What's different, in comparison to the physical world, is that acts of control become harder to detect and those wielding control more difficult to discern.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

yea (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088484)

first post bitch

Re:yea (5, Funny)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088538)

...and so it begins. Not on the frontiers of outer space, not launched from Mars during the night...but here, on Slashdot. They have found how to infiltrate our minds and compel us to respond, waste our mod points, and upset the balance of society itself.

Re:yea (2, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088660)

Pardon, but for those of us just a little behind the power curve, which new overlords were these, that me way properly welcome them?

Re:yea (1)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088700)

We've dubbed them the "First Posters". Trying to open any sort of dialog with them has proved futile.

Re:yea (1)

CheShACat (999169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091952)

Well I for one seriously DON'T welcome them...

Re:yea (1)

tlord (703093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089090)

...and so it begins. Not on the frontiers of outer space, not launched from Mars during the night...but here, on Slashdot. They have found how to infiltrate our minds and compel us to respond, waste our mod points, and upset the balance of society itself.

Well, yes. "They" [the political, economic, and social situation] have done just that. You have just done it by trivializing the concerns, reinforcing the hegemony that produces the problems Carr is noticing. You have illustrated a tiny sliver of the problem, by example. Good job.


Business Secrets? Personal Life? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089182)


All now part of the Google Panopticon!

We have put Jamshid's Cup [] in the hands of the puerile [] and unworthy. []

Even those of... the criminal. []

Re:Business Secrets? Personal Life? (1)

tlord (703093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089342)

It's not a panopticon. In a panopticon, the threat of perpetual surveillance is used to enforce discipline. In the contemporary situation, hidden surveillance is used to create points of control. -t

Re:Business Secrets? Personal Life? (1)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091444)

I do like the metaphors--and not all of the surveillance is hidden.

I've already seen a few articles for jobseekers, for example, where they advise people to google themselves and see what shows up (since potential employers may do the same thing).

That might cause some people to (re)consider what they have on their myspace/facebook/blog/criminal record) which does act as a control mechanism.

big server farms, thin clients at home (5, Insightful)

primadd (1215814) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088504)

I'm fearing for the days when all you have at home is a thin client to some virtual machine inside some big server farm. You buy CPU time, like in the old mainframe times, get billed by cycle.

No need for anti piracy features, you don't get to see the executables or source anyways, all tucked away from your prying eyes.

Bookmark me []

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088554)

I don't think I'd like to be billed by cycle, I live out in the sticks & that would mean an awful lot of pedalling. :-)

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088654)

Hahaha, Chop the cycle - I'd like to be billed by motorcycle....

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

huckda (398277) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088556)

oh you mean like using your PC...buying no software, running nothing but an OS(although remote boot'n over the web would be kewl and slow)

and using things like GoogleApps..and the plethora of all the other 'Web 2.0' software out there? ;)
wait...that already happens...

there is very little that you can NOT do via 'the web' without owning any software yourself...
and I'm not talking about using OSS on your personal computer at all.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088586)

Yes, and I dont like it!

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

link5280 (1141253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088902)

Assuming everyone has a high speed connection it might be feasible, otherwise it would be to slow. Either way the consumer will have to give up control over their desktop apps, probably won't happen. Plus what web based apps can compete feature wise with those on the desktop? There might be a few but I can't think of any.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089146)

It's not just speed that counts, its reliability and uptime. What is considered "reliable" for your average cable or DSL connection is not what would be considered reliable for running substantial applications.

In ten to fifteen years, the guy may have a point, but at the moment, as I said in another post, the web is a terrible application platform. Quite frankly, I think the model for distributed apps was paved a couple of decades ago by X Windows. The X protocol is horrible and insecure, of course, but RDP and VNC show us how to do it properly.

The Web really is, despite all the face lifts and kludges, a late 1980s demonstration technology, a sort of uber-gopher that has had some extra bits glued on to it. It isn't a platform so much as a Frankenstein's Monster, just good enough that if you're dedicated, clever and knowledgeable enough, you can make some relatively trivial applications like email clients work reasonably well.

This guy is talking out of his ass.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089696)

And of course the latency. User's have enough of a hard time with an applications latency on a local machine, let's chuck a network into it as well and really piss them off.

Carr is talks from the perspective of a user - not a technologist so when I see an article by someone qualified to make such predictions I'll pay more attention. He talks about distributed applications like google apps which have their place for casual users who realise they can get in trouble for copying proprietary software. I don't see any business trusting their sensitive business data to anyone outside their own fire walls and applications like Sales-force are already revealing the weakness in their business models wrt what can be done with the data, and limitations on the volume of data. Distributed app's within a corporate intranet, yes - outside no.

Open source applications (i.e Open Office) are already being employed to negate licensing fees of internal and utility applications and Nick want's be to believe he has a crystal ball that tells him how the I.T industry will look before these new models of developing applications start to dominate, I'm dubious. Sun's recent investment in MySQL tells me that there is a bright future ahead for the I.T industry expanding, if anything as the more complicated the view of the world we have, the more complicated our information systems are to make sense of it.

Presuming no immediate failure of our world systems that sustain us, I predict that widespread use of nano-technology AND genetic engineering will increase the demand for programmers, and I haven't even started analysing the need for control systems to address global warming and energy efficiency initiatives that will probably become government requirements in the near future.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088918)

There may be little you can't do, but there's a lot you can't do well, reliably or securely. As cool as Google Apps may be, you're essentially trusting your data integrity and security to an outside company.

The web, as it currently exists, is a really shitty software platform. Web 2.0, if it meaningfully exists at all, is built on some rather horrible hacks that break down the server-client wall, and for certain kinds of limited applications that's fine, but building substantial applications, like accounting and financial software, in AJAX would be an unbelievably difficult job, and a rather hard one to justify.

I think this guy is, as with his last great proclamation, overstating his case. Yes, in certain arenas, like home and small business email, apps like GMail certainly can play a role, but I can tell you right now that the business I am in, which deals with confidential information, will be waiting a long time before farming out this sort of thing.

Privacy Laws (4, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089406)

As cool as Google Apps may be, you're essentially trusting your data integrity and security to an outside company.

Just to drive home your point further what can be even more important is that, as trustworthy as Google may be, they are subject to US law. This is a huge problem in places like Canada which have privacy laws since using, for example, GMail means that your organization can end up breaking Canadian law because the US government has free access to any data in your email which you may be legally responsible for protecting.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089828)

Web 2.0, if it meaningfully exists at all, is built on some rather horrible hacks that break down the server-client wall

I won't deny horrible hacks, but "server-client wall"?

building substantial applications, like accounting and financial software, in AJAX would be an unbelievably difficult job, and a rather hard one to justify.

I don't see how it would be either particularly difficult (there are plenty of good libraries out there now) or particularly hard to justify (Business Guy can now print his reports from ANYWHERE!)

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089872)

There are other technologies like RDP that allow him to do this already, and in a far more secure and robust manner. Using web browsers to run software is like using a brick to hammer 3 inch 10d nails. Yeah, you can drive it in, but it's ugly, takes a lot longer and leaves you at a lot more risk of injury.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22090660)

I don't see how it would be either particularly difficult

It isn't hard, it's impossible. You would have to figure out how to distribute the app without any data. Can't do that, and the company won't let you distribute their data.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

ellisbright (1217670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22090396)

Even for confidential info - you might be farming it out sonner than you think. Just take the example of credit cards. Given the choice I'd rather pay a monthly fee to store my customers credit card numbers because they are better at securing it and I can leverage them to obtain safe harbor from visa by being pci compliant. Another example is the web based database Some customers have been known to store healthcare info bc it's easier to pay than it is to make sure all your internal systems are hipaa compliant.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088626)

So when that time comes, only ninjas/pirates/outlaws will have their own personal computer and independent OS? Shiver me timbers! I'd join their ranks without a second thought...

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (2, Insightful)

primadd (1215814) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088670)

The question is, how much will those Pcs cost? Will you be able to buy them?

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088818)

They will cost ~$30 and yes, you will be able to buy them.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088680)

There will be some smartcard that will diminish the anonymity, and make it challenging to operated outside of the approved application set.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088898)

More likely you will fail to leave their ranks.

big fear farms, thin paranoia at home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088884)

"I'm fearing for the days when all you have at home is a thin client to some virtual machine inside some big server farm. You buy CPU time, like in the old mainframe times, get billed by cycle. "

Why fear for something that's impossible to create?* Maybe because you don't know enough about what's happening around you, and you get all your news of the world from, slashdot.

*No, I'm not talking about technologically impossible.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

jim.hansson (1181963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088982)

somehow I don't believe that will happen, to some extent yes, but I think people will start to value there privacy, but maybe I'm only naive.
then you have companies that has secrets they cant trust third party with, already today we are talking about nations using the intelligent services to give there own companies an edge over other nations companies.

I get the feeling that people that write this sort of thing does not understand the technology. but maybe it is I who don't "get it".

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089018)

And then some enterprising guys, working in their own garage, will develop a machine that you can own, can program yourself and mantain complete control over.

It will be the 1970s all over again (except without disco).

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (1)

Gyga (873992) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089468)

I wouldn't be so sure about that disco comment. A new disco club opened in my town last month (the only club of any sort in my town).

I'm sure Comcast and IBM have our best interests (1)

oldwarrior (463580) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089186)

in mind... Big Blue blowhards are laughing their output ports off since today's xml software as service isn't a damn dime's better than their CICS/Cobol obscenities that ran the world the first two decades of the computer revolution. May as well look for a dumb terminal and an HDLC line. Comcast will still let me innovate... I need a drink...

Pssst, hey, buddy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089730)

I have an AST Bravo hidden in a tree near Looking Glass Rock. 486DX, 64MB, a 540. Not a Cat5 for miles. All the ASCII porn you want. I can give you an account for a hunnerd bucks...

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (4, Insightful)

kwerle (39371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089942)

I'm fearing for the days when all you have at home is a thin client to some virtual machine inside some big server farm. You buy CPU time, like in the old mainframe times, get billed by cycle.

Look around. There are no thin clients. The iphone is 100x more powerful than my first computer. The macbook air is 1000x more powerful than my first computer.

Imagine 21 years from now. Imagine computers 128x more powerful than they are today. That means that the iphone of 21 years from now will be 10x more powerful than "the lightest laptop available today."

You're talking about "thin clients". But a really powerful computer will be the size of a thick piece of paper.

Yeah, I'm dreaming - but how else do you expect to keep up!? In my professional career (say 18 years), computers have become 100x more powerful, and fit in an envelope.

The only reason for "thin clients" is because the client wants and agrees to be thin.

Re:big server farms, thin clients at home (4, Insightful)

dodobh (65811) | more than 6 years ago | (#22092402)

The browser is the software version of the thin client.

Oceania (0)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088572)

"... has no capital, and its titular head is a person whose whereabouts nobody knows."

Re:Oceania (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089206)

And Web 2.0 == XSS as a business model.

I know I know.... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088576)

google for it....

World Wide Computer (4, Funny)

gringer (252588) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088652)

Otherwise known as a botnet

world wide computer, eh? (3, Funny)

swschrad (312009) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088656)

10 stop war
20 fix domestic problems
30 printf "Woo!"
40 goto 10

hmm, doesn't seem to be working. hairbrained theory, anyway.

it would probably take 80kb to do that in visual C.

Re:world wide computer, eh? (1)

biovoid (785377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089826)


Is it just me (-1, Redundant)

Trogre (513942) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088662)

or is this guy just proposing a giant botnet?

Cue the GNU/free software movement (0)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088726)

MicroSoft could make the next version of Windows remote-boot only.

That's when GNU/Linux or *BSD's maturity and availability comes into play, large swaths of the populace shrug off Windows, and literally two worlds emerge: the thin client centralized world and the fat client decentralized world.

Now the centralizers who are quite real and quite active in their quest for control, will try to take away personal hard drives, but it'll only take a few screw-ups with loss, revocation of access to, or the catastrophic leaking of vital personal files (a writer's book gets plagiarized because corporate server rules won't let it be inaccessible to others, or a writer/artist's works in progress are lost due to a crash of some sort), for that pipe dream to die. Hard drives will come in from Singapore & Taiwan, I suppose.

But do expect an assault on the personal hard drive. Without the removal of the personal hard drive from the market, the migration to centralization is an outright abortion. If they can justify no longer producing hard drives, then bend over and kiss the golden age of computing and computing freedom goodbye.

Re:Cue the GNU/free software movement (2, Insightful)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088832)

I highly doubt that Windows will ever be remote boot only. In the US, there are still many many places where dial-up is the only form of Internet, needless to say, these people generally spend very little time online (unless they want to download something then they are on for a very long time) and wouldn't buy an OS that was totally online. Actually, most Linux/BSD distros are more or less internet dependent compared to Windows. In FreeBSD I can install almost the entire system via FTP and in Linux most applications come from a centralized repository, while most Windows applications that are proprietary and cost money usually come on CDs, DVDs or if they are really old, floppies. While BSD/Linux will still support hard drives, more effort is being made to store data over P2P networks such as BitTorrent (I forget the name, but some photo-backup software operates via Torrents to store pictures after they have been encrypted) then Windows. Windows and the computer "industry" have always made money on hardware primarily. Software is nearly pure profit but can easily be downloaded for free over P2P networks, CDs can be copied and it is easy to clone in open-source form most software. The personal hard drive will be diminished slowly but I don't think that it will be for a total lack of freedom as long as Google is allied on the standards following, mostly-open-source side, as Google will be one of the first to have "virtual hard drives" on the web. I doubt that any of this will happen in the next 5-10 years and even later than that so I doubt that Windows will still be dominant or even around then, and that leaves Google as the next "evil empire" and with their slogan as "don't be evil" I don't think that they will turn evil anytime soon.

Re:Cue the GNU/free software movement (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089216)

Boy, are you ever naive. My slogan is to not call you a douchebag, yet here I am calling you a douchebag. Douchebag.

any-to-any internet vs. one-to-everyone control (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088734)

The internet, PCs, etc. permits low-cost, large-scale anyone-to-anyone communication and influence. That any-to-any influence can be (and is being) used in a decentralized fashion. Or, because any = {one, many, everyone}, it can be used as a one-to-everyone scheme for control. (As an aside one could argue that the slashdot effect, DDoS, or internet vigilante effect is a "everyone-to-one" phenomenon that overwhelms the target one)

That said, the past was dominated by one-to-many mechanisms for influence. In the past, any-to-any was very weak, very local, or very expensive (water coolers, snail mail, and travel). At least we now have the means for decentralization.

affect on the backbone (2)

farkus888 (1103903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088746)

I am thinking these centralized computers would be maintained by professionals, assuring they will be virus free.[don't laugh too hard yet... the jokes not over] if that is the case I think the telcos would love the reduced bandwith requirements of *only* having to pass every byte of every app I decide to use down the "tubes" instead of all that botnet traffic they need to deal with now.

Re:affect on the backbone (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088838)

would be maintained by professionals, assuring they will be virus free

Oddly enough that currently defines the difference between the professional level operating systems (some of which are free) and a hobby system that was pushed into the workplace (which you have to pay for). The wide range of malware is currently a single platform problem and is almost all the fault of poor design of two applications - Internet Explorer and Outlook.

Re:affect on the backbone (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 6 years ago | (#22090260)

almost all the fault of poor design of two applications - Internet Explorer and Outlook

Hey, don't forget to mock their network stack!

Re:affect on the backbone (4, Insightful)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 6 years ago | (#22090866)

That was true in the past, but nowadays malware is mostly spread by the good old "User wants free porn" method.

A.k.a social engineering.

I don't remember encountering any malware since at least before 2000 that could spread itself without relying on the user to infect their own machine. I've had several pieces of malware try to email or even msn file transfer themself to me from an infected pc though.

All Control-G's are now Taco Bell (3, Insightful)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088766)

Internet still has no center, technically speaking, control can now be wielded, through software code, from anywhere. What's different, in comparison to the physical world, is that acts of control become harder to detect and those wielding control more difficult to discern.

Or from nowhere. The risk of a bad guy taking over is serious, but the risk that no one is at the helm is much more likely to lead us to death by Global Warming, for example.

You have to look no further than the US Congress to see a worked example. If you idealize every single member of Congress as intelligent, and I think a similar analogy can be made for people on the net or for companies on the net (where you still have to question intelligence sometimes, but let's not and say we did), it's pretty clear that the problem isn't just the sinister taking hold of someone with total power. It's also that it's easy to cause behavior that no one can take responsibility for, and that isn't in the best interest of individuals. The Internet is no different, but not because we didn't have examples of this before. Just because we didn't heed them.

Re:All Control-G's are now Taco Bell (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22090166)

The entire world combined, is less intelligent than the average person.

While you may have a hard time convincing one person that the overproduction of popcorn is causing tsunamis stronger than ever before, you would find it surprisingly easier for a group of 10 people to convince 1 person of the same "fact".

To paraphrase Charlie Stross (5, Interesting)

monopole (44023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088770)

The definition of a real utility computing environment is one where somebody can hold a coup d'etat in it and make it stick in the real world.

Re:To paraphrase Charlie Stross (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091658)

That leads to the interesting questions of whether a 24-year-old Norwegian hacker who likes allowing people to share information freely would make a better leader than any politician likely to achieve high office this year, and whether even 17-year-old Russian script kiddies could do a better job of promoting good international relations than the likes of Brown and Putin.

Oh, sorry, did you mean a coup d'état via cyberspace would be a bad thing? :-)

Ahem.... (4, Insightful)

GaryOlson (737642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088778)

"The tighter your grip, the more star systems will slip thru your fingers." Princess Leia of Alderaan

This guy obviously has no sense of history....real or fictional.

Half-joking. Half. (5, Funny)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089200)

And where's Alderaan now, pray tell?

Re:Half-joking. Half. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091718)

It's where baby Leia is growing up. Even I know that, and I've only seen the first three films!

Why, is something bad going to happen in episode IV?

The IT cycle? (5, Insightful)

jase001 (1171037) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088808)

Isn't this just the IT cycle, everything gets centralized, short term costs are saved. 10 years later decentralized, and long term costs are saved Vs short term.

greed/fear/ego based megasloth terrorizes planet (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088938)

bend over, or we'll invade. bend over, & we'll invade anyway. let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [];_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [] []

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events. []

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb); []

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones; []

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids; []

& pretending that it isn't happening here; []
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity; []

To grok a word is harder than knowing the language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089286)

It's too bad that the only way to get out a message like this in an accurate way is to use spelling/grammar mutations that make you look like a raving loon. ---->

Re:greed/fear/ego based megasloth terrorizes plane (1)

Maestro485 (1166937) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089414)

I'm pretty sure that "yOUR" creator isn't a terribly intelligent one.

Or put AnOtHeR way:

yOUR postt doesn't/can't/shouldn't make any corporate nazi/evile sense hallowed by thy kingDUMB come, etc..etcc,. sOOper death SUNNNN RAY AHHHH

Sorry got carried away at the end.

Can't Stop the Signal (1)

thunderpaws (199100) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088946)

There is no news. There is only the truth of the signal. What I see. And, there's the puppet theater the Parliament jesters foist on the somnambulant public.

Mr. Universe

Frederic Brown's "Answer" (3, Interesting)

Tancred (3904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088968)

Here's a classic sci-fi (extremely) short story on the topic of an immense computer. Frederic Brown's "Answer": []

Re:Frederic Brown's "Answer" (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089674)

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

Re:Frederic Brown's "Answer" (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089864)

Problem: Technically infeasible.

It's talking about wireless power and faster-than-light power/information control.

Doesn't make it less compelling of an idea, though. Singularity is the modern evolution of this concept. And there have been others.

Screw Myminicity (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22088990)

Ok, it's done, I'm fed up.

Vigilante style repercussions are not my usual style but the folks have managed to get me irritated once too many. 'rewards' their users for spamming sites with links that point back to

I'm a regular visitor to slashdot and since a couple of weeks a bunch of jerks have been placing cloaked links to '' in just about every story. is complicit in this because they actively encourage users to send traffic to those links in order to boost their status in the system.

To give the jackasses a run for their money I've come up with a very simple plan.

Fight fire with fire.

Support the official Slashdot mymincity page:

Slashdotcity! []


That's right! Post this link in your blogs, on slashdot articles, everywhere you can. We badly need links to /tra, /ind, /sec, /env because are population is bleeding away.

Together, people, we can beat them at their own game!

Technically this is probably illegal, but call me reckless. As I said, I'm pissed off

Re:Screw Myminicity (1)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089086)

I'm sorry if I'm missing the point (I don't think I am), but how exactly does this fight myminicity?

Re:Screw Myminicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089982)

"how exactly does this fight myminicity?"
I'm just guessing, but it could finally convince /. staff to block all Myminicrap links. With my sympathy :-)

Seems like they're missing the point.. (2, Insightful)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089010)

Both Nick Carr and Alexander Galloway seem to be missing something..

perhaps it's that they assume the user and authority groups are mutually exclusive.. or perhaps it's the 'programming as control' inference that collapses the argument.. i'm not sure, but i really don't see this outcome occurring.

Re:Seems like they're missing the point.. (1)

jim.hansson (1181963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089122)

i dont see either, where i work we have two computers(at least) for every person, one for normal email and stuff(no secret stuff) and one for every other system, that one for email and none secret stuff is handled by another company but the other ones are handled internally. basically you cant trust every thing to another party.

Re:Seems like they're missing the point.. (1)

Gideon Fubar (833343) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089390)

That pretty well encapsulates the problem with his last article, eh?

Sure you can outsource the generic business stuff, but there are some things that you won't find a host for, some things that are clearly cheaper and better to keep in house, and some things you'd have to be insane to outsource..

The mainframe is back (5, Interesting)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089030)

So we're back to the point in the cycle where centralized mainframes you rent time on rule the world again. Can you guess what happens next? Privacy problems, reliability problems, outages, and we all go back to personal systems again.

Old is new again.

Re:The mainframe is back (1)

dch24 (904899) | more than 6 years ago | (#22090590)

I totally agree with you. But food for thought: ham radio operators were the distributed network during the mainframe days 40 years ago.

Maybe it's about the population of users in each camp. I mean, mainframes, HPCs, and imaginary Beowulf clusters haven't gone away. It's not an either/or proposition.

But good luck convincing your boss to take a mixed approach. When Microsoft enters the mainframe market, surely we're all doomed.

Ridiculous comparison (5, Insightful)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089036)

Carr draws interesting parallels to the rise of electricity suppliers during the Industrial Revolution.
Interesting comparisons? More like spurious comparisons. I read the linked interview and, as someone who has read quite a bit about the rise of industry and its relationship to the availability of power (basically, the history of power generation), I can say he's a typical unrealistic abstractionist. He handwaves away the fact that the purpose and nature of electric power generation and electronic communication are similar solely in topography by claiming that they are both "general purpose technology" and are analogous economically. Of course, his entire line of reasoning is balanced upon a precarious point of assumption which is highly questionable: that people will find off-site centralization easier than in-house. Really, it's the same old crap we've heard for years. How long had we been hearing about how "real soon now" thin clients will be all people will need? It's ludicrous. Just think about how much lower latency and greater reliability would be required before people would be willing to offload any significant percentage of their storage and computational needs. We're not there yet. We're not anywhere near there. I'd say you'd be lucky to get 2 nines of reliability out of such a system, much less the 4 or 5 nines you'd need to make it what this nutter predicts. Really, the parallel between remote IT service and electric power is nil. All power requires for reliability is a good run of copper wire and generator.

Re:Ridiculous comparison (1)

Gorobei (127755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22090114)

Well, I'll take the other side...

I use a lot of compute (multiple megawatts, globally distributed.) Even with an in-house support team, I don't see even 99% uptime: in the last two years, I've lost compute twice due to natural disasters, and several more times due to operator error or hardware misconfiguration.

I agree we aren't there yet, but I'll switch to an external compute provider as soon as their perceived reliability and scaling exceeds what I have in-house. I expect that will happen in 2009.

Google, etc, seem to know what they are doing. I'd trust them more than an internal team for my compute needs.

Re:Ridiculous comparison (1)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091800)

i remember when i first got broadband i spent a lot of time downloading videos from youtube and because i wanted to watch them. now i don't bother--it's easier just to dial in and watch them.

I for one (1, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089048)

welcome our subversive effusive control asserting paradigm shifting overlords

So just start a ... (2, Informative)

Talkischeap (306364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089258)

So just start a solar/wind/hydro/? powered wireless world wide net.

The Peoples Net

Using off the shelf hardware (solar), it would be a one time cost of (US) $500.00 - $1000.00 to set up self powered node.

I'm shooting from the hip on the costs here, but I used to install solar/hydro, so I'm prolly close.

And the deep cycle batteries would have to be replaced after 5 - 8 years (with good maintenance, if wet cells).

But that would be a truly non centralized network.

Amateur Packet Radio works in a similar way, as I recall (but I'm a lowly Tech, so I can't know anything).

Re:So just start a ... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089566)

Amateur packet was also really big on 2m and 440mhz last I checked (admittedly about five years ago), which is well within your privileges as a tech. Also, with the code requirement having been nixed, what's stopping you from reaching for Extra?

Re:So just start a ... (1)

Talkischeap (306364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22090296)

"what's stopping you from reaching for Extra?"


I have one good friend who's a Ham also, but the rest of 'em around here in Mendoland are so narrow focused on emergency comm, and militaristic regimen, that we can't relate at all.

Oh, I'll be there in an emergency (already have been), but otherwise, no, I have other things to do, like tinker with my new Eee PC.

Re:So just start a ... (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 6 years ago | (#22090422)

What I wonder about is, how will a truly decentralized network work?

The Internet is truly one of the wonders of the world, but think about it. Why do you trust to actually refer to Google? Because a centralized authority dictates DNS from 14 servers. Why do you trust that really is Because centralized government-controlled authorities dictate which numbers go where. By comparison, search on the epitome of decentralized networks, p2p, brings up a shitflood of spam, fake porn files, and viruses (with the porn I want mixed in somewhere).

In short, we trust the underlying fabric of the 'Net because it has authorities who don't allow assholery and who you can't defy (because they'll simply drop you off the routing tables). How do you maintain the same ability to stop assholes without involving a dictatorial authority? As much as I love to think about it, finding spammers and virus writers and publically torturing them just wouldn't work.

Re:So just start a ... (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22092038)

Use the new cheap printable solar cells, and for almost infinite
battery life use super capacitors instead.

The super cap would cost more, but they have like a million cycle life.

Assuming 1 cycle per day, It could last in theory, 3,000 yrs.

Nanosolar which is invested in by google: []

UltraCapacitors at present: []

High Altitude Balloons for Relayers: []

The 65,000 ft. variety is still in development but would
accelerate with some external research stimuli.

Teledesic once planned to cover the world in Low Earth Orbit ( LEO )
satellites, but it fell apart and millions were wasted.

A more practical solution is a remote control balloon that
can be flown via simple cheap remote control like RC planes
with just a mild booster to get it up over 10 miles high.

It could be landed for repairs, upgrades, etc etc.

Geosync satellites are expensive, and due to their distance out
add in latency to the data, 13 miles vs. 22,000 miles does make a difference. []

Also at 65,000 ft. there is no wind, so once you make it up there
you just hang out in one spot.

It is nice and cold up there so the electronics can be stored in
a insulated container, and cool air can cycle thru as needed,
or perhaps passive cooling would be fine if done right.

I agree, to a point. (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089264)

There's some technologies that everyone wants, and there's a solution that'll fit 90% of the populace.

Examples would be hosted email, contact management, and calendaring. A central provider can just simply do a better job at providing all these things that an IT department does, and the requirements are all extremely generic. Users seem to want infinite amounts of email storage, and the ability to find an email at a moments notice. That's difficult to manage unless you want to dedicate someone to JUST knowing the email systems.

The thing I disagree with is that the IT department is going away. Simply not true. The difference with other utilities is that the IT department doesn't provide a single, simple resource like electricity. IT provides automation and tools that increase productivity, many of which are going to be way to specialized to centralize.

IT departments may evolve, like they've been evolving for the last 50 years. I've heard many years ago (before my time at least) there were people dedicated just to swap tapes around. We don't have that anymore of course.

Re:I agree, to a point. (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089844)

IT departments may evolve, like they've been evolving for the last 50 years. I've heard many years ago (before my time at least) there were people dedicated just to swap tapes around. We don't have that anymore of course.

Of course they'll evolve, but the idea that the entire field will shrink to a tiny fraction of its current size is ludicrous. This idea that hardware and software in the future will somehow just magically work, and that what little is left will be handled by little IT elfs that come in the night to apply the odd patch that requires a reboot is bizarre.

Management systems have evolved greatly since I first got into the industry in the early 1990s, to be sure, but you know what, I still find myself as busy, and in many cases much busier now, simply because along with all these great new tools comes new software and hardware of far greater complexity.

In the end, I may not be working for a single employer (although I still don't see in medium and large sized enterprises how the hell you're going to eliminate all your in-house expertise), but rather for some company that does IT contracts, but that's been a direction things have been going for a while. This guy doesn't know what he's talking about, and his attempt to equate networks to electrical infrastructure is pretty damned naive. We've come along way with DHCP, and in small situations like home networks it's true that you can pretty much plug things in and have them work, but in even a small to mid-sized business network, with IP printers, appliances, routers, firewalls, servers, WAP access points and the sonofabitch with the laptop that wanders around all over the place, he doesn't know jack shit.

I think maybe this guy should spend a week doing my job, and then come back and talk about how I'm going to be rendered obsolete.

Re:I agree, to a point. (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22092910)

There's some technologies that everyone wants, and there's a solution that'll fit 90% of the populace. Examples would be hosted email, contact management, and calendaring.

To reinforce your point, the attribute that ties all of your examples together is that they all need to make use of the network to be useful in the first place. Latency and reliability are already tied to the network. Having to have the network operational to play my flight sim, write a thesis, update the accounts receivable or do a CAD drawing? That's just silly. Activities that rely on the network may be centralized onto the network, but not much more than that.

This is such bullsh*t (1)

dynomitejj (1113319) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089268)

This article / book and those who proclaim the I.T. dept is dead are idiots. Let me give you an example: Your company grosses 200 million per year, which is a small business by textbook standards. There is no way in H*ll that your going to trust you're data to google, microsoft, or whoever. It just ain't gonna happen. I don't care if you have 10 GHZ of FREE computing power. We all know that the temptation to do unethical things with someone else's data is just too tempting. As the price of hardware approaches zero, what incentive is there to not keep the data local ? Right now, I don't need 10 GHZ. I need hardware that's redundant and dependable, and a good solid internet connection and I'm good to go. Take that software as a service crap and shove it up your as*.

Uh, yeah. (2, Funny)

MadMorf (118601) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089282)

This is the same kind of abstract extrapolation that predicted we'd all be riding around in flying cars.

So, the real question is...

Where the fuck is my flying car?

Nick Carr is a Horse's Rear, But He's Also Right (2, Insightful)

Fortunato_NC (736786) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089418)

Kinda. Sorta. Not yet, but soon.

For businesses, especially small ones, utility computing makes a lot of sense. I work for a 70-person company, and six of our employees (including me) are dedicated to the IT function. We could probably reduce that number in half and still get more revenue-generating projects tackled if we were able to outsource things like backup and recovery, user account maintenance (why isn't this an HR function has always befuddled me - they control the hire/fire function, but don't determine system access at most companies, including mine), software rollouts, machine cloning, etc. I've been evaluating Google apps, and I tell you, it's almost to the point where I can see myself making the business case to deploy it company wide. I close my eyes, imagine a world where i never have to think about email servers and spam blocking again, and I cry a little. Saving my company $150K+/year in the process is just a bonus.

Re:Nick Carr is a Horse's Rear, But He's Also Righ (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089884)

And when Google's document store gets hacked, and all your documents and private communications are compromised, and someone asks you "What do you mean, you didn't know how Google handled backups and security?", I hope to be there to watch as you melt.

This is not Nicholas Carr's First Attack on IT (5, Informative)

caramuru (600877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089456)

Carr wrote the May 2003 Harvard Business Review's "IT Doesn't Matter." His argument (grossly simplified) was that IT is a "utility" and businesses should not invest in IT because IT cannot differentiate one firm from another. In a well known (to the business community, but apparently not to ./) rebuttal to Carr's article (Smith & Fingar's "IT Doesn't Matter, Business Processes Do", Meghan-Kiffer Press, 2003,) it is argued (again, grossly simplified) that IT is critical to optimizing business processes - the true source of enterprise value. A business that optimizes its processes differentiates itself (positively) from its competitors. In fact, Business Process Management Systems (BPMS) is a new layer on the enterprise software stack. For those of you coming from the SOA space, BPMS is the choreography layer.

Carr's current article's argument that IT functions should be taken over by functional units only perpetuates the silo thinking of most organizations. Budgeting IT resources on a departmental basis perpetuates islands of automation, redundant/conflicting rules, ridiculous internal interfaces., etc. Outsourcing some or all IT functions may be reasonable in some cases, but turning control of IT over to the various functional units in an organization is insane.

Re:This is not Nicholas Carr's First Attack on IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089728)

That is the brave new world of IT, every different department has its own priorities and they are miffed when another department's project interferes with theirs. And if they don't test together before one converts then you have a disaster. But no one wants to wait and each department doesn't trust the other to not screw them over.

Here is something not contemplated by those that think you can outsource everything. What do you do when each separate vendor has its own conflicting upgrade cycle? Or they are staggered so that you are constantly doing upgrade testing and no time to work on improved functionality? Upgrades usually happen before new functionality is realized (i.e. upgrade, go-live, then evaluate and enable new functionality). Also, in many business sectors (health care being a big one) it is impossible to have a single vendor provide everything you need for IT. Hell even the I/V pumps are now capable of integration... Who can make them, CT, XRA, MRI, NUC scanners, cardiac equipment, EHR systems, med systems, registration, billing, inventory, dictation, transcription, all with integrated desktop support? Answer, no one on the face of the earth can provide that all from one vendor.

Some decentralization of application layout, maintenance, and tuning is good. This is where their department knowledge is useful. Core IT coordination/planning needed to underpin the entire infrastructure? You would be insane to decentralize (or outsource) that. Just try and find a consultant that will have experience in your mix of 10-15 IT systems and further remember all your hundreds of customizations. Anyone who still thinks so is delusional.


Re:This is not Nicholas Carr's First Attack on IT (3, Interesting)

Tarwn (458323) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091438)

I'm not sure the idea of splitting the IT responsibilities into other departments is insane (hold with me a moment). Consider the current situation of an IT department that is a separate department, usually with their own goals, budget, etc. This department is notable for not always getting new PCs as fast as they are wanted, for not implementing software changes immediately when requested, and for demanding additional money when deploying technologies like video conferencing so they can upgrade the internet connection or some other foolishness. Oh, and they always act like they are busy, but we all know the systems hardly have problems.

Unfortunately the suggested solution, of splitting IT into the surrounding departments, is going to look like a good idea to many director level people. It will (in their minds) ensure immediate service for new equipment, allow a higher level of control over the purchase of items they think are unrelated, and allow them to have changes made to software at a higher level of priority. To the outside manager or director, they generally only see what we are not supplying, not what we are. If we are good at our jobs, but have poor systems, they don't generally realize just how bad things are because we are keeping the system limping along. A lot of our expenditures are due to reasons they just don't understand. If we buy a 48 port managed switch with fibre but were rolled under one of these departments, it could very easily turn into a refurbed 48 port hub off ebay, since they both have lots of connections and thats all you really need.

What about change control? They don't see it. Time for testing? That will get reduced further. Developing in test environments? But those are good machines, they should be used for something important. Oh, and why do you need fancy development tools? Joe down the way made an application to do that in 45 minutes using MS Access, but it takes days in this fancy technology, we'll just use MS Access instead.

The whole idea of splitting IT up into several departments is like a startup company (non-tech) in reverse. Money will go to IT-related resources last, it will be in no one's interest to spend the time, resources, or money to ensure there is a strong infrastructure capable of growth, in house software development will be on-the-fly and likely based on technologies like MS Access. On top of that, larger initiatives like data warehousing, global data management will be left to whoever wants to pay for the whiz-bang consultant to come in and do it their way. Backups, email, directory services, all of this will end up on someone's plate who will forever be trying to drop it off on someone else.

I realize that the author of that article was likely thinking that IT resources would not need to deal with most of these things in the future, and for that I can assume he has not worked in an IT environment in quite a while. While technologies are available to streamline our jobs and allow us to grow the department(s) more slowly that in the past, splitting the department so that no one has these responsibilities is going to have one positive thing going for it: The consultants that come in to clean up the mess after the takeover are going to be set for a good long time.

Re:This is not Nicholas Carr's First Attack on IT (1)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22092136)

splitting the department so that no one has these responsibilities is going to have one positive thing going for it: The consultants that come in to clean up the mess after the takeover are going to be set for a good long time.
I was a student worker in the IT department (with the Website) of my university for my undergraduate work. What you says rings to there. Maybe 8 or so years ago (before my time) a new IT director came on board. The system analysts felt like he was intruding on their turf (not sure the specifics) so these system analysts were given to other departments (Financial Aid/Bursar/Registrar). There they did the projects under the umbrella of that department.

Fast forward till 2006-present. The IT department has a security team in place to make sure proper security is being done with IT related things. Basically making sure the university is following the best practices related to keeping secure information actually secure. Ie not sending SSNS through email, storing SSNs properly in database, using encryption where needed etc.

Well surprise but some of these system analysts, who don't have much IT oversight, are not following the best approaches. Not only that but probably 1/2 the applications I worked were because IT didn't have access to a particular application since they no longer were in control. Much duplication ensued.

I agree with you that it won't go very well. It's hard to have someone be a one-stop-shop for a department and everything run well or properly. Something has to give and it's usually the person will take shortcuts. Not necessarily the individual's fault, but it's real hard when you're the only one with the expertise of oversight.

firefox and the comment system sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22089930)

open source fails it.

Net protocols are political - choose a side (2, Interesting)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22089978)

Availability of secure P2P protocols, and creation of a location-free, fragmented
encrypted redundant moving storage virtual layer on top of lower-level net
protocols, could retain freedom from monopoly control of information
and services.

But watch for the predictable attempts to get legislation against such
"nebulous dark-matter middle-nets". Watch for fear arguments to be used
as justification. Watch for increasingly asymmetric ISP plans (download good,
upload bad), and protocol-based throttling or filtering, by the pipe providers.

These are all the very predictable reactions by "the man". They must it goes
without saying be resisted, in law and political discourse, and economic boycott,
or circumvented by all ingenious tricky means necessary.

P.S. I've been predicting this inversion of the intranet to where it is the "extranet",
and inversion of where we would trust our data (What, you kept your data on
your own servers, and not the massively redundant global storage net?
Are you insane??) for a long time now, but nobody listens to me.
(Brain the size of a planet, and they've got me parking cars...)

Highlights from Princeton panel on this topic (1)

1sockchuck (826398) | more than 6 years ago | (#22090150)

Princeton University held a panel this week on "Computing in the Cloud" that discussed many of these issues. A couple of relevant excerpts:

From Data Center Knowledge [] :

Some cloud-based services could become so vital that they become candidates for government regulation, according to panelists at the event ... "Everyone who is trying to get into utility computing is getting big fast," said Jesse Robbins (of O"Reilly Radar). "They're all trying to get as big as they can as fast as they can to win the platform play, and this is going to create lock-in. The big companies are going to be viewed as either monopolies or utilities, both of which are regulated."

From Data Center Links [] :

Princeton's Ed Felten: "Possession of data implies control, and control implies power. Whomever owns the systems on which data resides has the ultimate control of how that data is retained and who has access."

This is highly unlikely... (1)

theonlyaether (1146549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22090712)

Considering that companies like Time Warner are attempting to severely limit the amount of data users can transfer. []
We'll see what happens once FIOS is implemented everywhere, but from the way the major ISPs have been behaving lately - your run of the mill end user type services will be punishing people who use (what I would consider to be) a really silly bandwidth cap of about 40GB/mo...and that's only if you pay for premium services.

The machine (1)

codeboost (603798) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091040)

I am inclined to think that it's not just 'The worldwide computer', it is the 'New emerging species - The Almighty machine'.
I think it is here, it controls us, it's just that we have a different definition of 'control'.

Consider this:

- People don't make machines, machines do.
Well, it's not exactly true, since we *do* design the chips and circuits. But that's about all we do in order to create an evolved machine replica. The chips we design today would be impossible to design without computers and computers do about 98% of the design work in the background. Same is true with software we write - without computers, the code would be just a cryptic text on a piece of paper, and of course, you cannot write millions of lines of cryptic text on pieces of paper (you can, but who would think you're sane if you do this?).

- Machines create our reality
Most of us here are computer specialists and spend around 80-90% of our waking life in front of a computer screen. But it's not just us, programmers, who spend most of their life in the computer-generated reality. Most intellectuals do. Non-intellectuals also spend most of their free time in this reality.
So it's fair to say that we live in a virtual reality most of our time.

- Machines control and run our non-virtual reality
Communications, power, air traffic, stock markets, hospitals... our economy runs on servers, that's easy. Of course, we wrote the software and we designed the hardware, but you can look at this differently - the machine 'used us' to evolve itself by expanding our minds. Take away the computers and our society as we know it would collapse.

- The machine tells us the truth
Google, Wikipedia, that's obvious. When you need to know something, it is the machine who has the answer and it will dictate the decisions you make based on the information it gives you. Also, modern science is impossible without computers and the Internet. Space exploration is impossible without them.
In fact, the machine has *all* the information about all aspects of truth on this planet and the universe.
Even what you're reading right now is, technically speaking, the machine's creation. I just give the basic idea, the rest is machine's work.

- We are slaves to machines as machines are slaves to us.
Who's the master and who is the slave ? Masters would not be masters without the slaves, so slaves define the master.
How do we define if we control the machines or machines control us ? The most common denominator would be survival and we are currently dependent on machines for survival in our society as they are dependent on us for their survival.
You can say it differently - they control our survival as we control theirs.
In fact, since we agreed that most of our reality is machine-generated, it is fair to say that what we do in our lives (our jobs) is so that we can 'feed' the machine with our presence (besides providing them power, manpower and intellectual capacity for their self-replication).
We have already expanded our physical bodies with mobile communication devices, hence gaining telepathy. The little creatures which you feed every day, called mobile phones, can be looked at as telepathy organs. And man, it is *hard* without the mobile phone in the city (have you recently forgotten to take your phone with you?), just as it would be hard without a limb.

So, to summarize:
Machines create our reality and run our non-virtual reality. Machines multiply, we are just the environment, just as we use water, air and plants to multiply. The machine tells us the truth. We work for the machine.
But does it have a consciousness of it's own ? It is hard to say. Our brains are probably too limited to grasp the whole picture and to understand what it's consciousness really is. It may well be that it is 'alive' and we don't even realize it.

The best method of control is when your controlled subjects don't know they are being controlled.
You may call this symbiosis. However, if we extrapolate into the future, it is probable that the machines would be the ones discovering the universe, not us. In fact, it is probable that the machine will become our universe, since it is not long before we will be able to upload our consciousness into it and become one with it.

It's been just 50 years since it was born and it has already become the 'Almighty worldwide all-knowing creature'.
Is it good or bad ? Neither. Evolution isn't good or bad, it just is.

I want Carr's job, what a cinche it must be (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 6 years ago | (#22091944)

How about this one: "in the future all IT - world-wide - will be performed by six people in India, and all home computing will be done on cell-phones, and those cell phones will be smaller than a dime." Just look at the current trend!! Now please buy my book. Thank you.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?