I’ve often wondered about how the working environments within which proponents of cloud computing exist have shaped their enthusiasm for it. If your work is never interrupted by the broadband going down then it’s easier to be committed to moving all your applications into the cloud.
In Battle of the Titans, the author quotes the former Netscape founder referring to the insights provided by early users of the web in universities. Their super fast connections allowed them to see the experiences possible through a potentially generalisable technological privilige. From loc 3099:
Andreessen says, In 1993 it was very obvious what the world would be like if everyone had a high-speed Internet connection and a big screen because at the University of Illinois [where he was at college] we had those things. But the only reason we had those things was because the federal government was paying for them, and they were only paying for them at four universities. Our first demo for Netscape showed how you could watch Melrose Place [the hot TV show at the time] in the browser. I actually think mobile is the biggest thing our industry has ever done. Our industry was basically born around 1950 at the end of World War Two [when William Shockley invented the transistor]. And that sixty years was basically a prologue to finally being able to put a computer in everybody’s hands. We’ve never had the ability as an industry to give a computer to five billion people [the number of people with cell phones currently], and that is precisely what is happening right now.
Is this open to serious analysis? Can we explore the relationship between technological privilige and knowledge of possibilities? I think it’s an interesting question and one that ought to be factored in to analysis of the emerging digital elite.