We Own Less and Less Technology

The announcement of Apple’s iCloud is another major transition that effectively takes all our information and puts it squarely in the Cloud.

Enter, the Cloud

Is the Cloud a bad thing? Not necessarily, however it seems to me that power and control of what we do is moving back to corporations. The introduction of the personal computer in the late 70’s (although some may argue it was the “Simon” in 1949) was the beginning of individuals having the power to do what was before only available by expensive enterprise computers.

we own less technology

Look at the power and the things we can do now on a little silicon box in front of us!

Add to this the Internet and we have an ecosystem that allows us to find and collaborate with people all over the world! The Internet has brought us such power as to be able to topple governments!

And now it seems, corporations and governments have figured out how to fight back. This past week, Nicolas Sarkozy, at the G8 summit in Paris said; “As long as the internet is part and parcel of the daily lives of our citizens, it would be a contradiction to leave government out of this massive discussion,”. Jeff Jarvis has more to say on this. I fear that this very thing that gives us freedom and power as a collective is slowly being taken away from us.

It’s About Control

One feature of Apple’s iCloud is iTunes Match, which, for a monthly subscription will scan our computers for “music obtained from other sources” and replace it with iTunes music. The music industry has been looking for a way to get that control back for some time now.
Look at books. We no longer buy books, we “lease” electronic copies from Amazon. Even the operating system that runs our personal computers is not even ours. Even though we own the hardware we do not own the software.

In the industrial age, the big corporations dictated to us what to buy and mass marketing was the norm. Over the last decade the Internet has eroded mass marketing down to the point of small targeted vertical marketing by “long tail“.
I think the Cloud is a way for the big players to be back in control.

I think that as time goes on we will physically own less and less. Just as we lease cars now, we may lease just about everything in the future. We already lease music and software. Why not the computer, printer and everything else? Many business lease all the technology in the building. The desktop computer means less and less and even now is being given away. The power and control what we do and how we spend our lives (think Facebook) is moving to the Internet and back into the control of major corporations.

The physical box we work on is becoming less and less important. It is the software and services that run on it that have the value, the power – and most companies are moving to a SAAS (Software as a Service) model – in the Cloud.

Is the Cloud convenient? Sure! We can get to it using almost any device; phone, tablet, computer. Again, the device is becoming less important, the service is where it’s at. Who controls the services? The big players who have the financial resources to reach out to the world.

I’m beginning to fear that the next generation, even with tremendous technical abilities, may still be tied to big corporations, as they have previously been.

I for one would like to see it differently.

What do you think?

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