Nicholas Carr is high tech’s Captain Buzzkill — the go-to guy for bad news. A former executive editor of Harvard Business Review, he tossed a grenade under big-budget corporate computing with his 2004 polemic Does IT Matter? (Answer: Not really, because all companies have it in spades.) Carr’s new book, The Big Switch, targets the emerging “World Wide Computer” — dummy PCs tied to massive server farms way up in the data cloud. We asked Carr why he finds the future of computing so scary.

Wired: IBM founder Thomas J. Watson is quoted — possibly misquoted — as saying the world needs only five computers. Is it true?

Carr: The World Wide Web is becoming one vast, programmable machine. As NYU’s Clay Shirky likes to say, Watson was off by four.

Wired: When does the big switch from the desktop to the data cloud happen?

Carr: Most people are already there. Young people in particular spend way more time using so-called cloud apps — MySpace, Flickr, Gmail — than running old-fashioned programs on their hard drives. What’s amazing is that this shift from private to public software has happened without us even noticing it.

Click here for the full story

About the Author:

eSchool News