A Prehistory of the Cloud (MIT Press)

A Prehistory of the Cloud MIT Press We may imagine the digital cloud as placeless mute ethereal and unmediated Yet the reality of the cloud is embodied in thousands of massive data centers any one of which can use as much electricit

  • Title: A Prehistory of the Cloud (MIT Press)
  • Author: Tung-Hui Hu
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 478
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • We may imagine the digital cloud as placeless, mute, ethereal, and unmediated Yet the reality of the cloud is embodied in thousands of massive data centers, any one of which can use as much electricity as a midsized town Even all these data centers are only one small part of the cloud Behind that cloud shaped icon on our screens is a whole universe of technologies andWe may imagine the digital cloud as placeless, mute, ethereal, and unmediated Yet the reality of the cloud is embodied in thousands of massive data centers, any one of which can use as much electricity as a midsized town Even all these data centers are only one small part of the cloud Behind that cloud shaped icon on our screens is a whole universe of technologies and cultural norms, all working to keep us from noticing their existence In this book, Tung Hui Hu examines the gap between the real and the virtual in our understanding of the cloud Hu shows that the cloud grew out of such older networks as railroad tracks, sewer lines, and television circuits He describes key moments in the prehistory of the cloud, from the game Spacewar as exemplar of time sharing computers to Cold War bunkers that were later reused as data centers Countering the popular perception of a new cloudlike political power that is dispersed and immaterial, Hu argues that the cloud grafts digital technologies onto older ways of exerting power over a population But because we invest the cloud with cultural fantasies about security and participation, we fail to recognize its militarized origins and ideology Moving between the materiality of the technology itself and its cultural rhetoric, Hu s account offers a set of new tools for rethinking the contemporary digital environment.

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      Published :2018-05-07T12:43:53+00:00

    1 thought on “A Prehistory of the Cloud (MIT Press)”

    1. Listened to on Audible, not read, but I definitely experienced this work as a book even so. The author is a poet, but brings not metaphorical, flowery language but rather a precision and lyric intensity to his history of the reality of cloud computing. The final section is more of a diatribe against neoliberalism than I need on my headphone-eared walks in the redwoods (being an unrepentant neoliberal myself), but I'm willing to give the author that space, in exchange for marvelous long passages [...]

    2. TODO full review later:+/-- Overall, a missed opportunity to capitalize on two factors: (1) the unique societal change brought by the cloud (e.g stately and multinational corp control, but also the democratization of access to computing, data storage, and digital communication), and (2) the unique dual expertise of the author, in computer technology and in history of ideas (or, perhaps more accurate but also explaining the result, new-media critique). +++ Excellent short history of the main tech [...]

    3. Despite some questionable and distracting theoretical deployment, to read this book is to begin cutting the first teeth in a key for understanding our present and future. I wish Hu were more forceful about underscoring the ways sovereignty is still operative -- indeed, I think his exploration of networked power and "control" pushes us to realize that "control" is always parasitic upon sovereignty, which problematizes the analytical distinction in the first place. (Even as I use power, I think th [...]

    4. What is a network? Given how many things we use that term to describe, surprisingly little consensus exists about what it actually means. Connections, sure. But connections to what, and what kind of connections? With no clear-cut answers, interdisciplinary research has often been stunted by conflicts pitting syntax (i.e. neuroscience, archeology, genetics) against semantics (psychology; anthropology; epigenetics), in the battle for ideological supremacy.Hu enters squarely on the semantic "B-team [...]

    5. I wanted to love it but somehow I just couldn't. The arguments (mostly) felt a bit old hat but there was a factoid or two that grabbed my attention.

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