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Opinion: Woz Predicts a Horrendous Cloud, and I Agree

By - Source: Physorg | B 82 comments

We all learn that our technology tastes will, at some point, stay somewhat the same.

We tend to like the technology we grow up with and adopt in the first half of our lives, eventually having trouble accepting new technologies that are adopted by our kids when we grow older. No one is safe from this trap. Even Steve Wozniak may show signs of getting old. Or, if he is right, we really have to fear the cloud.

In an interview, Woz commented on this thoughts about the cloud. Here is a taste:

- "I really worry about everything going to the cloud"

- "I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years."

- "With the cloud, you don't own anything. You already signed it away"

- "I want to feel that I own things."

- "A lot of people feel, 'Oh, everything is really on my computer,' but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we're going to have control over it."

I am sure that many of us share his concern about the security of the cloud. What struck me, however, was the note about "owning things". What exactly do we still own today? Aren't we already highly evolved as a subscription society, as opposed to the 20th century ownership society? Besides phone, TV and utility, we subscribe to various kind of data, software and information services. Our phones are subsidized by our subscriptions and our future tablets may be as well. We don't even own our cars anymore. Many of us lease cars, which is also - with a certain stretch - a kind of subscription. As far as our subscription happiness goes, isn't the cloud a natural evolution, especially as our kids grow up in a time in which they learn that you necessarily do not have to "own" physical music media, and other types of content that we can touch and feel, for example, in the form of a newspaper.

I completely agree with Woz that we are losing control over our data in the cloud and we certainly may lose ownership, if we don't pay attention to the terms and services we agree to. However, I would argue that the scenario has been set a long time ago and there is not much the 40s, 50s, and 60s year olds among us can change anymore. It’s the teens, 20s and 30s that are deciding the future of the cloud. From what I can see, they are completely happy with what they get. 

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  • 35 Hide
    DRosencraft , August 8, 2012 12:44 AM
    I agree with Woz, and I'm only in my mid 20s. I like to feel like I own my stuff. I don't keep anything on the cloud except a couple backups, and even then I update those once a year and keep the offline backup going monthly. I don't play any games I can't buy a physical disc of and don't have sitting in front of me. My family has never leased a car in our lives. I admit I don't regularly buy newspapers. And unfortunately I haven't bought music in years because I've already been burned once by the iTunes experience about six years ago.

    The thing is, it doesn't have to be this way. I look at people who go about posting all sorts of personal info on blogs, pouring their would out on websites... In general there is this perception that this is the way things have started to go, it's the way things have to be. My generation and the one coming up tends to get a lot of the blame, but really I feel like it's been a collective thing where people just don't seem eager to defend their own rights. We like in a country in the US that, despite what you might think of the gov't or of business, you do have a choice to make. You don't have to buy any and everything that comes along. And even if it's a bit of a pain, you don't have to "keep up with the Jones'" or buy into anything because someone says it's great or awesome. We as individuals have the power to choose. Even if you like to use Facebook to keep in contact with friends, you choose what you put on it. A company can show as many commercials as they want, it doesn't mean you have to buy what they're selling. Show some will power!

    Sorry, I know it's a long and preachy post, but I feel like people have just lost the will to use common sense in a lot of things. Not just the "looking back" types of things where you miss something, but stuff that should have been obvious and that had big warning signs thrown up.
  • 33 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 8, 2012 12:28 AM
    *Puts file in the cloud*

    Oops, your internet connection went down again due to a light rain shower. Also, your accounts got hit by a troll that tricked the customer support and an actually ID thief that exploited a backdoor.
  • 25 Hide
    Anonymous , August 8, 2012 12:28 AM
    I agree, many business and governments will suffer great losses of data with cloud failures. I will probably never really trust the cloud, unless it is my own private cloud on my own hardware.
Other Comments
    Display all 82 comments.
  • 22 Hide
    tonitelaoag , August 8, 2012 12:17 AM
    up to now i don't play online , i recycle to play old games of all genre and doesn't store my valuable files online except pictures to share or big file sizes not possible to deliver via yahoo messenger.
  • 33 Hide
    A Bad Day , August 8, 2012 12:28 AM
    *Puts file in the cloud*

    Oops, your internet connection went down again due to a light rain shower. Also, your accounts got hit by a troll that tricked the customer support and an actually ID thief that exploited a backdoor.
  • 25 Hide
    Anonymous , August 8, 2012 12:28 AM
    I agree, many business and governments will suffer great losses of data with cloud failures. I will probably never really trust the cloud, unless it is my own private cloud on my own hardware.
  • 16 Hide
    Usersname , August 8, 2012 12:36 AM
    Quote:
    It’s the teens, 20s and 30s that are deciding the future of the cloud. From what I can see, they are completely happy with what they get.


    They're too apathetic to care. What they'll end up with is a dystopian nightmare.
  • 35 Hide
    DRosencraft , August 8, 2012 12:44 AM
    I agree with Woz, and I'm only in my mid 20s. I like to feel like I own my stuff. I don't keep anything on the cloud except a couple backups, and even then I update those once a year and keep the offline backup going monthly. I don't play any games I can't buy a physical disc of and don't have sitting in front of me. My family has never leased a car in our lives. I admit I don't regularly buy newspapers. And unfortunately I haven't bought music in years because I've already been burned once by the iTunes experience about six years ago.

    The thing is, it doesn't have to be this way. I look at people who go about posting all sorts of personal info on blogs, pouring their would out on websites... In general there is this perception that this is the way things have started to go, it's the way things have to be. My generation and the one coming up tends to get a lot of the blame, but really I feel like it's been a collective thing where people just don't seem eager to defend their own rights. We like in a country in the US that, despite what you might think of the gov't or of business, you do have a choice to make. You don't have to buy any and everything that comes along. And even if it's a bit of a pain, you don't have to "keep up with the Jones'" or buy into anything because someone says it's great or awesome. We as individuals have the power to choose. Even if you like to use Facebook to keep in contact with friends, you choose what you put on it. A company can show as many commercials as they want, it doesn't mean you have to buy what they're selling. Show some will power!

    Sorry, I know it's a long and preachy post, but I feel like people have just lost the will to use common sense in a lot of things. Not just the "looking back" types of things where you miss something, but stuff that should have been obvious and that had big warning signs thrown up.
  • 14 Hide
    drwho1 , August 8, 2012 12:47 AM
    I agreed.
    I have not and will never use the cloud, I keep my "stuff" on my hard drives.
    If I need some external safe keeping, I burn a backup disk and put safely somewhere where I can retrieve it
    even without an online connection.

    Plus I don't have to pay some company for "cloud storage", that's just stupid, hard drives are way more convenient and cheaper. (you don't have to pay a monthly fee to keep using your hard drive)
  • 14 Hide
    shoelessinsight , August 8, 2012 12:49 AM
    Clouds are nice for things that you specifically intend to share with others or with other computers you own, and they can be a cheap offsite backup for data that wouldn't destroy your life or business if it somehow got released in the open.

    But this recent trend to put everything in the cloud and store nothing locally disturbs me. I understand that there are cost benefits to not distributing high-capacity hard drives to everybody everywhere, but I just can't stand the idea of losing control over my data.
  • 21 Hide
    snowzsan , August 8, 2012 12:50 AM
    I'm not even remotely interested in putting my data into someone else's hands. I know that, in the event of failure, I can do whatever I can to get my data back. I trust myself more than some idiot on the other end saying "Oh well we'll do the best we can, sir!"

    I understand the cloud and it's many many benefits. However, in my opinion, they absolutely do not outweigh the negatives. I prefer to take care of my own, and I'm not ready to rely on someone else to do it for me....

    ... Not to mention, if your internet service goes down for any reason, you're SOL.
  • 0 Hide
    rantoc , August 8, 2012 1:04 AM
    I agree that the "cloud" will have horrendous issues for years to come, sadly. The main issue will be security and i don't doubt there will be news monthly about high profile sites who been hacked one way or the other! How many high profile sites have been hacked lately where the users are have lost personal data?

    The corporations want to roll out the cloud as it opens up a host of new profit opportunity's but i really hope those that do so by gambling with the customers data will receive hefty fines for lack of security if they get hacked.
  • 11 Hide
    ravewulf , August 8, 2012 1:12 AM
    I'm 22 and only interested in the cloud for syncing my bookmarks/URLs between my desktop and laptop and for things that I specifically want to share with others. Everything else stays on my hard drives.
  • 18 Hide
    memadmax , August 8, 2012 1:25 AM
    This isn't about what kind of technology we "grow up with"...

    This is about being smart.

    The internet is NOT secure. Any computer connected to the internet is considered unsecured.
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , August 8, 2012 1:26 AM
    If you're using webmail or IMAP mail, you're already using the "cloud".
  • 12 Hide
    InvalidError , August 8, 2012 1:58 AM
    The thing that annoys me the most about cloud-based stuff is apps that require internet connection for arbitrary reasons that seem completely unnecessary. Many single-player games on Google Play store player data online and become unusable offline and some applications misbehave when their advertising libraries fail to contact servers, which makes things like tablets half as useful.

    If everything starts storing every trivial thing online, people are going to get royally screwed every time their internet connection has hiccups or they go offline for whatever reason.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 8, 2012 2:00 AM
    I think his statements are timely. Did anyone see the news of Mat Honan hacked account? A bit of social engineering and having everything connected to iCloud enabled the whole thing

    http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/08/apple-amazon-mat-honan-hacking/

  • 6 Hide
    phatboe , August 8, 2012 2:17 AM
    killerclickIf you're using webmail or IMAP mail, you're already using the "cloud".
    Not necessarily, I have set Thunderbird set to save all e-mails locally. In my case you can think of the data saved in the cloud as a back-up.

    Personally I have not problem saving files on the cloud as a back-up and only if that data does not contain sensitive data (which in my case I am careful never to e-mail out private data). The problem arises when you have devices like Google's Chromebook or cloud based applications which is designed to save most/all of your data online and trust that information to a third party.
  • 10 Hide
    blackjackedy , August 8, 2012 2:32 AM
    I'm only 17 and still am not convinced that the "cloud" (different how to web hosting that used to exist? Off topic..) should be the way of the future, and even have an aversion to anything that uses internet hosting for much more than a backup of my locally stored files. I have two reasons for this;

    Living in New Zealand, unless you want to spend an obscene amount of money, you cannot get enough internet to stream movies, music etc without blowing your cap in a week ($75 per month gets you a 40gb limit plus a phone line)

    Secondly, I just feel like anything that cannot be locally stored is not a possession of mine and that I am borrowing it (even if I have paid). Say I am wrongfully banned from the service, all i have paid for is lost. If the service goes down in several years time, even if I never want to use the content again I'll still feel like I've been robbed if it just goes away with the service. The fact I cannot control or do with the content what I choose (eg encoding a video to a different format to run on a phone) just feels too constrictive for something I should rightfully own.
  • 10 Hide
    wildkitten , August 8, 2012 2:43 AM
    I have never been an Apple fan kiddie, though I will admit I have enjoyed the couple of iPods I have owned.

    But I have the utmost respect for Steve Wozniak. He has always appeared to be forthright and honest and I agree completely with his opinion. I have always felt that the cloud was in fact a wall cloud with an F5 tornado hidden inside.

    It's rather odd that the people most pushing the cloud are the ones who want to "host" our data. Sorry, but give me local storage and control. There is absolutely no reason for all these people to have access to our data, and it's been proven time after time that it's not safe. Just look at all the hacks that have happened recently to all these databases.

    I say pass on the cloud and let me order a new hard drive/flash drive.
  • 6 Hide
    Hiii , August 8, 2012 3:36 AM
    Who's imposing all this cloud thing?.
  • 2 Hide
    livebriand , August 8, 2012 4:18 AM
    I'm 15 and I agree. I use Dropbox, hotmail, and gmail, but I store copies of everything offline as well, and I don't store too much in the cloud.
  • 8 Hide
    LORD_ORION , August 8, 2012 5:18 AM
    HiiiWho's imposing all this cloud thing?.


    The consortium of hardware vendors and software vendors...

    Their hardware plan is to charge a premium on performance based hardware (the cloud servers and infrastructure) so they can span out performance progress longer and charge more for less on the consumer side of things.

    Their software plan revolves around peeking on all the cloud data to bring to heel any emerging technologies that threaten the entrenched players.

    It is pretty much a return to the dark age of computing (users use terminals) for both control and profit.

    What really needs to happen is to enable average users to run their own clouds from home. (we already have this for people who know what they are doing, long before cloud became a buzzword)

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