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Life in the cloud or an open gate to the (un)world (by Tomáš Sedláček)

Once, we used to play in the meadows and fields, now on the computer. Once we worked by hands and feet; now we work on the computer. We used to listen to music at concerts or in the pub, now we listen via the computer. Once we looked at the pictures on paper and slides, today we look at photos on the computer. Once we were watching movies in the cinema or on TV; today we watch them on the computer. Once we wrote letters on paper or postcards; today on the computer. Once we asked the old sages and encyclopedias; today we ask Google.

Sure, man still does not live entirely via the computer, we still write letters occasionally, play in the woods and attend live concerts. But everybody was able to notice what the computer is for, how it has become a vital instrument, something that accompanies us in almost all areas of life. Just one path, or the origin is interesting; computers first began as a work tool and from there spread to other non-working areas: free time, leisure, personal relationships, and so on. Remember how the mobile phone started. They used to be only in the domain of business, as a relevant status symbol, often a symbol of arrogance that the youth refused. I remember myself as I eagerly discussed with friends (yes, still remember the immobile era) how we would not join into this new lifestyle at all and mobiles would remain only a concern of entrepreneurs. Then sales campaigns and competitive discounts soon allowed everybody to have one. And soon it was cool. And then you sine qua non; what once was despised, became the question of existence in the twenty-first century .

All you need is connection

However, what I want to say is that the gateway to a more and more life is unification. The nascent, already born new gateway into literally another world is obviously any device connected to the internet. Upon entry everyone goes where he wants, but the gateway is the same. It was a brilliant move of iPhone by the way - a device designed for all to benefit (even only uncolored for a long time). Compare this with Nokia's strategy, manufacturing specialized for business, children, poor, rich, pregnant... dozens of models every year , just think back to those serial numbers and letters how many it was. IPhone did something radically unexpected One Size Fits All - and it worked precisely because the gateway should be the same. Today, every small childowns the same phone as a businessman.

One (size) fits everything

It's actually not even one size fits all, but one fits everything (ie, one for all, no matter how buddhist it sounds). Never before in any civilization did machines play so important and intimate role in the lives of people (notice how close to your body we - even as intimate places - carry phones). Just consider how many daily activities would have been hard to imagine without this closest neighbor. Communication with family and friends , shopping, music , navigation, newspapers, books, mail, radio, television , movies, notes, contacts, games, calendar, camera with galleries of photos... And how something abstract is becoming more and more a real part of our days, more the actual real role is disappearing from our days. All the mentioned items are no longer needed. Material has become retro – old school.

Not only is the cloud (aptly named "cloud"), that we're moving in, along with us, so is the economy moving into this cloud. The Internet does not actually exist, it is not the real thing, only the manifestation of information, more precisely ones and zeros (thus the ones and nothing). There is not a single book, but millions of digital bits of the book. Out of it not a real picture, but billions of representative images and so on. This obviously means that the internet does not weigh anything (which as a complimentary topic to joke towards the makers "IT Crowd" series – additionally, we are all become the IT Crowd).

Fight for the crossroads

Once, when more material and distance were important, there was a fight for the intersection, trade routes, passes and canals; fighting over the territorial borders. Now, they cease to play a role as it is seen today. People will form the "nations " based on a common universal belief. Soon, I expect that the new battle (bloodless due to business) erupts after a decade-long open gate to this new world of pure abstraction and immaterial. And once again, a crossroads fight within the collapsed space-time called the internet will emerge. One gate is still semi-material (taken from our world to the abstract one, what the access devices are) the second gate is information, thus purely abstract, which now has firmly been occupied by Google (once only a search engine website).

And with what we will fight? “Gratisism“ (who will offer more „free of change“), psychology , creation and manipulation of desire, faith, fantasy , values and sympathy, and especially art.

About the Author: Tomáš Sedláček (1977) is a Chief Macro-economic Strategist at ČSOB. He served as a non-political expert advisor to the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Czech Republic, with special responsibility over fiscal consolidation and the reform of the tax, pension, and healthcare systems. He also served as an economic advisor then-president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel. (