I should perhaps begin by saying that I am as big a fan of the Net and the Web and the whole expanding “information universe” as anyone you are likely to meet. I find myself online all the time, mining for data, merrily skipping from one site to the next, passing the time of day after day (and night after night) in scattershot dalliances (sampling this and sampling that in a virtual delirium of free association), deploying my trove of finds in ever more elaborate collages of discovery (or is it recovery?) of my own. And yet... and yet...
As a professional storyteller, I suffer the occasional compunction, a tug of misgiving about the whole existence of that vast cloud of data, as we’ve all now taken to calling it—its character, its purpose, its implications. For starters, that very word. Should such an exponentially compounding explosion of data even be likened to anything so comforting as a fluffy lamb-white “cloud”? Isn’t it more like a churning volcanic eruption, a great seething spewing-forth of material - an upwelling vision so mesmerizingly beautiful in itself, granted, that we can hardly take our eyes off it (that is, perhaps, till the heat blast comes and sweeps us away)?
But I really like the picture -- it's beautiful imagining beneath the mighty tree on such beautiful day -- the glistening lights of magical presence everywhere.
The words don't so much matter anymore.
I don't put much faith in the "cloud". It is as vulnerable as it is advanced and nothing keeps it up there but our sheer desire for so much instant gratification which, I suspect (though I don't know how or when) will bring us far more ruin than reward. And then what will happen to our precious little cloud? Well, I, for one, hope that it rains down on all our capers and whims and then disappears into the pitch forever.
Hate to say it, but I love my "cloud!" It does wonderful things for me and so far it's always there when I need it!!! Go with the flow is how I feel about things, you can't fight city hall or stop progress... for better or worse it just keeps right on rolling!!!! Life, is what I mean, and all things in it.
Well, my dear, I don't mean for you not to love it. If it never fails then it just might serve us well, though I suspect it is, more and more, designed to serve others more than us.
However, allow me to submit that, as a culture, we have never put so much faith, both personal and professional, into something so insanely vulnerable. Everything that we say and do and identify with is now entrusted to an array of wires and switches and nodes. It may prove unwise for humanity to commit to something so inhuman.
As John Nesbitt once wrote - we must not allow our technology to exceed our humanity. The cloud is genius only if it is entirely and unquestionably sustainable. It is a wrecking ball otherwise.
I earnestly pray for the progress of humanity. We could stand a little balance.
Dear Gatzby, I don't mean to be argue opprobriously but all forms of archival means are vulnerable. I once wanted to retrieve my early medical records dating back to the stone age for a particular reason and when I called the hospital where I was born in my birth city I was to told alas, all records prior to 1948 were lost in a flood in the basement archives before they had had time to digitize them, only records from 1948 on up had been digitized and saved so they couldn't help me. My past, my history was washed away in an act of god so it seems so nothing is perfect or invulnerable to earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods and the like, be they digital, bits and bytes, illuminated manuscripts or just a library full of books. There is much information now where do we store it, protect it, remember it, and save it all for future generations? Or will we be like the lost city of Atlantis, the ruins of Pompeii or the mystery of Mayans to be discovered by future archeological digs? My point being really, we do the best we can with what we have. Nothing is perfect. Wikileaks proved that! :) We live in an imperfect world and should accept that and know that. Life comes at you, and you just cope not react. Balance is a great thing to strive for, that I am in total agreement with you!
Of course, I do understand that our technology serves us well and I am a great supporter of it. After all, you and I would not have met and would not be sharing these thoughts were it not for our wonderful servers. There is much to celebrate here.
My only point is that it seems, on some levels, we are allowing technology to overrule some areas of our lives without so much as a flinch. Texting (the deconstruction of our language) and sexting would be primary examples. And all of that is kept in a cloud. And to what purpose? Generations to come will not only know our medical records but our sexual preferences and fantasies as well. And not even our real fantasies but implied fantasies.
We are saying and doing things that we would not normally say or do because of virtual environments. Sometimes it is interesting and creates avenues of growth. Sometimes it becomes only a distortion of who we truly are. A possible result of all this is that the distortion will likely be what outlives us. This, of course, is but a humble opinion and even I offer some hope that it is a wrong one.
Hello, everyone. I just found this discussion and wanted to insert a thought.
I like listening to oldies, which for me are the 50's to 70's. I think it is interesting that most young people would need a dictionary to understand a reference to transistor radios and records. Of course they always come out with lists of things that this year's graduates have never experienced, and this is always illuminating to me. They say writers can't include allusions to the Bible, Shakespeare, and other classical writers in their work because "nobody" can relate to these things.
With the increasing data available to humankind we have quick access not only to the allusions, but commentary on them. So, are we better off? Maybe. I like my ability to look up words in an instant but would like it better if the allusion wasn't lost on me. I hope I haven't forgotten everything I used to know!
Life is spew. Our individual limitations on absorbing and processing all that is out there, these do not define anything about what the world of man, machine, and data is becoming. We can stand by and comment on its bewildering presence, or we can see it as the child of Man, and therefore good, if that is your religion. If your religion says that the output of men is all bad, then you're stuck with that.