Cloudy with a Chance of Totalitarianism

More

by Robert Wright

This NY Times op-ed by Jonathan Zittrain about the perils of “cloud computing” has gotten some buzz, but not enough, I think. It raises the question of whether moving our software and content from the desktop to the "cloud" could make it easier for authoritarian governments to control the flow of information. In this light, Amazon’s recent deletion of Orwell's work from Kindles everywhere shifts from amusingly to ominously ironic. I’ve long argued that microelectronic technology has naturally decentralizing effects on power, and I’m convinced that this has been its upshot to date in places like China. Indeed, Orwell’s 1984, which envisioned video staying under the sort of centralized control that TV started out with, has in that sense proved way off. (Huxley’s Brave New World got more stuff right.) But who knows? Maybe Orwell will have the last, bitterly ironic, laugh. This is one of the most important questions of our time, and Zittrain’s op-ed is just the beginning of the conversation.

Jump to comments

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Saving Central: One High School's Struggle After Resegregation

Meet the students and staff at Tuscaloosa’s all-black Central High School in a short documentary film by Maisie Crow. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down