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Forecasting the Future of IT Is Scary

What the future of the Cloud and IT in general could look like

On December 16, 2013, our friends over at Compare the Cloud wrote a blog called “The Day Computing Changed Forever – and We All Missed it.” The blog centered on what the future of the Cloud could hold for society. Ironically enough, the post was published on the same day that Google (pictured below) announced it’s new line of products – four legged military machines. SkyNet anyone?

Google Robotics. SkyNet?

Anyway, in the post our friends over at Compare the Cloud set the stage for what the future of the Cloud and IT in general could look like. From operating in the world via customized avatars, to fitting an entire data center within the space of a few specs of DNA to human clusters providing science with answers beyond current imagination, our friends at Compare the Cloud lay out a very interesting vision for the future. That said, we are going to use this space to, point-by-point, deconstruct their vision of the future and why that vision spells out an extremely scary world.

1. Data Center Size Matters

“Todays data center is about physical mass of IT kit, what do they do when this kit that drives storage and compute is transferred to something so small we cannot even see it(IT)? The Data Centre of the future will look nothing like what we have today, it will be like a biology facility with storage being in controlled super test tube repositories”.

In a way we agree with this assessment. Like every major technological advance over time, size always comes into play. Whereas the home computer used to be the size of an average living room, now a machine much more powerful sits comfortably in our laps. The same will happen with data centers. However, this isn’t a great thing. If you think about it, the size of data centers – factory size buildings – requires those buildings to be guarded 24/7/365 by security cameras and security guards. In a world where a data center is the size of DNA, the possibility for theft and misplacement is just too possible. While we agree data centers need to get smaller to decrease their carbon footprint, for security purposes, data centers should only shrink to a certain defensible size.

2. Connectivity and Bandwidth a.k.a. Tracking

“Imagine a network comprising billions of human beings connected via 10th generation WIFI devices located within a human on-boarded bio-nano-chip the processing power will propel human advancement further than ever. The power of this “human cluster” to provide science with answers is beyond imagination.”

So, let’s get this straight. While we can see tech shrinking to a nano level to allow for “human cluster” which will “provide science with answers is beyond imagination”, a caution flag must be raised. How many sci-fi movies have we all seen wherein micro chips are implanted into the main character for the purposes of tracking and control? Remember what happened to Snake Plissken? Or how about Neo? Or how about any number of sci-fi characters who were given microchip implants? Yeah, a world in which microchip implants are standard issue for every human allowing them to connect directly to the Internet? That sounds downright creepy and full of insane security concerns.

Micro Implants

3. Consumerisation of Humanification

“What would Netflix do in this scenario? Simple! Tap into the Humanification RFC, (request for comment) standard 83383838339 to patent video on demand via biomechanics, to present video straight to the mind of the consumer. Same for Apple – will they create an ‘itunes’ for music streamed directly to the ear canal?”

On first pass, we have to admit this sounds pretty cool. To have the ability to stream music, videos, content directly into our minds. This sounds pretty cool but again, when you break it down, it sounds down right scary. How often do you see someone walking around the street with their head tucked into their smartphone or tablet? How often do you see these people looking lost because they aren’t paying attention to the world around them? If you are like us, you see this everyday. Now imagine what the world would be like if those very same people could stream something from Netflix in their brain while walking around NYC or London? Those people would not only look lost, they would get flattened by London’s famous double story buses. Yikes. So, is the consumerization of humanification a good thing? When you can stream Anchorman directly behind your eyes, we don’t think so.

4. The Future of IT

“Will currency, shares and futures trading systems still be in existence? NO WAY! Tapping into the power of the ‘Human Cloud’ will allow any trader or individual to outsmart any predictive modelling and trade execution system currently in existence both now and in the future.”

A few years ago 60 Minutes aired a segment revolving around server based trading operations in which Wall Street financial firm servers’, stored in Mahwah, NJ, conducted thousands of trading operations in the span of a few milliseconds. As technology advances and the Cloud becomes faster, stronger and more ubiquitous within society, routine operations, including daily financial trades, will likewise become faster, stronger and more secure. While it might be true with increased “Human Cloud” tech, people might be able to communicate and carry out trades via “bio-mechanical human “tap-ins” where visual images are presented in the brain cortex”, there is no reason why server based trading won’t continue to grow. In the IT future we see, Cloud based solutions will empower people to build more powerful machines which conduct their bidding.

5. Will We Still Need to Travel

“Who has ever used “second life”? Imagine the ‘Human cloud’ and the creation of a unique ID (UID) for every person on the planet. That UID is then customised to be an avatar of our physical beings, why would we need to travel when we can meet up in the virtual world interact and do business?”

The idea of using an avatar to conduct daily human business has a sole advantage – bodily security. Outside of this, there is too much to see, feel and experience to willingly contain yourself to a global avatar. For anyone who has ever seen the movie Surrogates with Bruce Willis, you, like us, can only see a bad ending to utilizing avatars to conduct daily human business. Surrogates didn’t end well. Neither will utilizing avatars.

Avatars? Surrogates?

6. Video Conferencing

“Such a laggard technology! Seven years from now it will be akin to playing an Atari game next to a Playstation or XBOX. Biotechnology-driven Telekinesis will be the next battleground with ‘Virtual Human’ bridges being used to communicate with trusted social and business contacts.”

This we agree with. Virtual Human bridges being used to communicate with trusted social and business contacts? Yeah, that actually sounds pretty cool. Call it a more powerful internal human-to-human video conferencing.

7. Office Production Suites

“Seriously? Sitting at a keyboard and typing? All we will need to do is dictate in our minds what we want to convey, put it through to the “profanity and grammar” thought process, then to be communicated onwards with productivity tools such as smell, sound and touch applied on subscription – which combined convey our thoughts and feelings to the receiving party.”

Pure dictation. In theory this is a wonderful idea however let’s think about it for a moment. The closest technology we currently use which resembles “pure human dictation” is Twitter. We say this because Twitter, for any close observer, is now used in three main ways: Content Creation/Content Syndication, Spam Posts/Bots and Mouth Vomit. We all know the person who uses Twitter to spew every thought which comes to mind. We all know that person and we all want to smack that person. Now imagine if that person had the ability of pure dictation?

No thanks.

7. The Humanification of Technology

“Science would have evolved to the point where cryogenics intersects with the humanification of technology…imagine doing an enterprise project where you can call in these great human beings to interact in avatar form and advise your company on how to do a marketing campaign product design – or getting Machiavelli to advise you on politics?”

Another idea we love. By the power of the Cloud, by the power of advanced IT solutions, the rise of the “humanification of technology” takes root. To have the ability to connect to the history of information within your mind, to have instant access to the acquired knowledge of mankind would be groundbreaking. And yet, at the same time, this idea seems dangerous. As with most future ideas, the full democratization of knowledge sounds and feels like an idea which has the power to distinctly split societies. In a world wherein every person has instant access to the sum of acquired human knowledge sounds like a world wherein a ruling class would emerge by limiting access to said knowledge to a small few. In a world where knowledge is everything, access is everything. The “Humanification of Technology” is at once, dangerous and liberating.

Humanification of IT

8. Security Concerns

“Will the corporate and personal firewall become the “Biowall”? With Juniper and Checkpoint perhaps offering host and grid customisation services stored on a DNA profile with bio-mechanical protection?”

The major issue at play here is security. As Compare the Cloud noted, when you introduce bio processing technologies into the humidification of IT, security becomes a huge concern. If the humidification of IT now means your mind and your body have been turned into the future of IT – the future of the Cloud – how do you secure it? As proposed, do you erect biowalls? Do hardware and software firewalls become a flesh and blood biowall designed to ward out intrusions both physically and mentally? More over, how would you accomplish such a task?

Will security barriers become part of an encrypted DNA sequence? Will web security companies like Comodo pioneer bio data firewalls designed to lock intruders out of the mind and muscles? Whatever happens, as noted, in this brave new world personal security will play a massive role.

So, what will the future of IT look like? Will it be a brave new world filled with technological advancements designed to empower humanity or will it become a never ending breach of personal security and over sharing? Only time will tell.

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