Understanding the Holy Grail of Western Technology – The Internet and the ‘Cloud’
Posted on March 2nd, 2023

Aloysius Hettiarachchi

The term ‘cloud’ in cyber space refers to a server farm in large box type buildings constructed in remote areas in the US or cold Western countries like UK, Iceland, Norway etc. Sometimes they immersed the servers in water to dissipate the heat they generate or send water through the servers to keep them under optimum temperature . The people who once lived harsh lives in those countries now do so comfortably by circulating that hot water to keep their dwellings warm thus saving electricity and generating revenue by ‘taxing’ the cloud companies and also doing highly skilled high-tech jobs. But ultimately who get taxed?. It is us who keep our many useless photo of many mega-bytes (or eight times that of bits) and other ‘data’ in the form of bits in those servers for ever. Finer the image more the number of bits required to define a pixel or a dot that makes up the image on our device.

How many of us know what those innovative companies like Nvidia (a name coined from Latin to give a twist to NV or envy) process and keep those images in their ware?. They have billions of tiny units called capacitors stacked in their graphics processing units (GPUs) that will send back the pictures to us at the press of a button!. Each capacitor retain a charge (or 1 bit) or no charge (ie. 0 bit). So a sequence of 0s and 1s are used to define a picture or our data. But these capacitors have a problem; the electrical charge slowly leaks there by heating up the processor and to retain that data the system has to pump electricity or energy continuously. So we have to burn more and more fossil fuels thereby causing environment pollution and perhaps catastrophic consequences like floods, droughts etc. The Norwegian girl Greta Thunberg who makes a huge din everywhere these days does not know that her country is one of the problem creators. In fact the US or the west does not mind as they benefit from this technology.

Perhaps a body like UN should intervene to stop this madness. They should have a panel like the one they had to formulate the law of the sea to either regulate how much data each country is entitled to keep in servers or to find a new method to store 0s and 1s and retrieve them instantaneously, in order to save the humanity. At the moment 18-20% of world’s energy is used for this purpose it seems. And it is these Nordic countries hosting these server farms that benefit to the detriment of others.

As late singer Don William sang us say “Send down the cloud (thunder) and send down the rain”

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