This month’s Wired has a long piece (not up, but will be soon) by George Gilder on the “information factories,” the massive server farms that Google, Microsoft and others are building up in Oregon and in other places about the globe. I read it (and the rest of the magazine) on a trip to NY over the weekend, and found the piece singularly frustrating.
Gilder has always been a shiny eyed fetishist of the first order, and he keeps the breathless pace up with this piece, which does a good job of laying out they why of the plants (cheap power, “peta” processing efficiency, etc.), but fails utterly to even engage in the consequences of having the world’s data stored in top secret high security locations owned by private companies with little if any transparency about how that data might be used. What about the social impact? Privacy, reconstruction of relationship of self to society, policy, data rights, etc.? Irrelevant in this blinkered paen to boundless techno utopianism. Even as I love blinkered paen to boundless techno utopianism, I’d expect more from Wired on an issue of this significance.