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Opinion: Woz Predicts a Horrendous Cloud, and I Agree

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. 

  • tonitelaoag
    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.
  • A Bad Day
    *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.
  • 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.
  • Usersname
    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.
  • DRosencraft
    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.
  • drwho1
    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)
  • shoelessinsight
    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.
  • snowzsan
    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.
  • rantoc
    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.
  • ravewulf
    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.