Opinion: Woz Predicts a Horrendous Cloud, and I Agree
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.