I'm well-known for being a TED Talks disciple (and also perhaps for the self-righteousness that can accompany TED fans) but this talk is a must-see...especially if, like me, you conduct and store a significant part of your life in The Cloud.
"We're setting ourselves up for a kind of disaster like the [one] we had with the financial system, where we take a system that was basically built on trust — was basically built for a smaller scale system — and we've kind of expanded it way beyond the limits of how it was meant to operate."
It's scary stuff.
Just imagine your daily work and professional life without much of the connectivity and on-demand services to which we have become accustomed.
Mr. Hillis reminds us that this isn't just lost access to Facebook or work emails that we risk losing. Increasingly, the internet is the backbone of our entire economy and, perhaps most menacingly, our communication, finance transportation and emergency services infrastructure.
Plus, with a failure of the sort discussed by Danny Hillis, this won't be like a storm or other event limited to any short period of time, geographic focus or service / provider. Mr. Hillis is talking about SYSTEM-WIDE failure with the possibility of EXTENDED downtime...downtime occasioned by an otherwise innocuous error or the malicious acts of an individual or terror group.
The risks to our national and economic security are clear (once again, the tales of Chinese hacking are highlights). The risks to us as individuals are no less so...how would you prove what you owed on your mortgage if the internet went away?
Like so many problems facing this nation (and indeed, this is an international issue), we shouldn't put our collective hands in the sand and hope that the HTTP levies will hold.
Let's be pro-active.
On a personal level, back up your critical data locally; keep some hard records and memories; and have a plan to keep about how to get in touch with your loved ones.
On a collective level, Mr. Hillis indicates that the solution may not be expensive. Finally. Let's get together and do something...maybe even the UN could actually agree on such a thing.
I believe and have invested in the the future of the internet and The Cloud...it has the potential to continue to be one of the most disruptive tools ever utilized by man.
But always have a backup plan and never waste a crisis.