Computing technology has undoubtedly had some very prominent impact on society at large.
Of the almost countless capabilities that it has brought us, the following five core capabilities are without a doubt at the top of any compiled list on the subject:
- Ever increasing speed
- Unlimited storage potential
- Lack of human error
- Global connectivity
Being able to store an unlimited amount of data is one of the main capabilities that we will expand upon and explore in a bit more detail as it provides innumerable offsprings into technological advancements and data insights generally for a wide range of applications and technologies in almost all sub-industries.
The potential for unlimited storage – or near unlimited, given the practical reality of the word – is already at our finger-tips, with companies such as Backblaze who are currently storing well over 200 petabytes of customer data (Melanie Pinola, 2015).
Barb Darrow (2016) states that a Gartner report found that Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Service) holds nearly twice as much customer data as the top seven other public cloud providers combined. Which is quite an achievement and also one of the main reasons that many have stated that Amazon are becoming unbeatable when it comes to their global takeover of the cloud and hosting markets (Barb Darrow, 2016).
It’s statistically impossible to quote a realistic number of exactly how much storage is currently available in the cloud as most providers do not make these types of numbers public. However, it can easily be determined that we are well into the exabyte range already, if not zettabyte even, given the rapid rate that online storage has become available over the past few decade.
Unfortunately this will all have to remain purely speculative for the time being until some concrete statistics are finally released to the public about the internal offerings of the major cloud players.
With all of this, comes a lot of questions and issues that need to be examined though.
For instance; storing your data off premises with a provider that can house unlimited amounts of data comes with many challenges.
We should therefore determine what the relationship this has to some of the following issues:
Who is able to see and analyse your privately held data?
Privacy has always been of utmost importance and without a decent level of privacy, there will never actually be any security approvals from any companies that can drive the usage of such technological storage forward.
Once data has been uploaded to a provider’s premises, who owns the data and the usage thereof?
Ownership of data is usually prescribed in the uploaders’ terms of service and this can not ever be jeopardised by a provider’s override once the data has been stored.
Can the provider take control of the data and misuse it?
What benefit can a provider gain from having control of a customer’s data?
If they were to get access to ever use it from the source, would they be able to, or be allowed to misuse that information to either harm the uploader’s business or assist any competition they may have.
Is the data that is stored, 100 percent accurate when re-downloaded? Or does the data get modified in any particular way?
Syncing, upload and download software (clients) often have inbuilt utilities that perform checksums on data to make sure that it has not been modified in any particular way. This works very well, but there is always an added performance loss with this. What are the guarantees of this not occurring, or this maintaining a low parity?
What sort of security measures are in place to protect your precious data from being accessed by unpermitted individuals?
There are many areas of potential Information Technology policy decisions that may be triggered by the availability of an unlimited storage capability that is truly scalable.
Large sums of data can even be used to analyse past events in order to predict how future events will perform.
Similar things are being done with stock market trading prediction software (Dr. Roitman, 2016).
Being able to feed large sums of data into ever increasingly and smarter by the day Artificial Intelligent bots is an area of technology that unlimited storage has really assisted in achieving over the past few years.
The more data that is fed in, the more the software/bots are able to learn from it. Cross reference other segments of data and pump out more feature rich answers. Even the output data needs to be stored somewhere; and this can in turn be analysed yet again using similar techniques.
These decisions will more than likely be triggered by all areas of both technology and advocates working in the space. Which is probably more than any other single industry to date. The impacts are huge.
With discussions like “Will computers replace our brains, hearts and souls?” (Fred Guterl, 2014) happening at The World Economic Forum, to smaller gatherings with more profound statements and questions; it is extremely important that we take full account of where new capabilities in technology are moving and how we should be involved in them, both technologically and ethically for our overall society and the future.
Melanie Pinola (2015) Data Storage Technologies of the Future – https://www.backblaze.com/blog/data-storage-technologies-of-the-future/ (Accessed on 22nd August 2017)
Barb Darrow (2016) Why Amazon Continues to Dominate in the Cloud Storage Wars – http://fortune.com/2016/07/28/amazon-cloud-storage-gartner/ (Accessed on 22nd August 2017)
Dr. Roitman (2016) The “Big Data” Solution For Wall Street – https://iknowfirst.com/the-big-data-solution-for-wall-street (Accessed on 22nd August 2017)
Fred Guterl (2014) What Impact Will Emerging Technologies Have on Society? – https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/what-impact-will-emerging-technologies-have-on-society/ (Accessed on 22nd August 2017)