Ok, not sure if you are like me, but I have wondered why more college kids don't use the term "cloud" as a drinking game....much the same as they did in 2008 with Sarah Palin and the term "Maverick"....thanks to SNL for that!

It seems that everyone wants to be part of the cloud.  As I have written before, even the stodgiest Industrial companies are now putting all of their future in cloud-based services....yes, I am looking at you, GE.  And for good reason....it is what investors want them to do.

As we move more data to the "cloud", it causes a tremendous need for computing centres and consequently, they are opening up all over the place.  One of the prime places they are doing so is in rural America, especially in some of the harder hit economic areas, and this makes sense.  Space/land is usually cheap and there is an abundance of lower cost labour.

The problem is that not a lot of labour is needed.

Cloud = less workers needed

Imagine a huge warehouse, maybe the size of an old automotive plant....it is filled with servers running down the aisle, as far as the eye can see.  Back when it was an automotive plant, there were hundreds, if not thousands, of workers on each shift, plus a huge support crew to keep things running.  In a data center, it is a lot of nothing.  Sure, it takes huge manpower to set up the place, but once it is running, it doesn't require many people.  You could run the place using remote call centres anywhere in the world. So in fact, you just need someone there in case the actual hardware had issues, which in the case of enterprise grade stuff, is not that often.

So, once you control access to it, it pretty much runs itself, at least compared to other similar sized facilities.  As a result, many jurisdictions are ending up a little disappointed.  They often gave huge tax breaks (or maybe even free land) to companies like Google and Microsoft to set up these places and then found out that it did little to help the unemployment problem in their area.

The Bottom Line

The new world of technology is very exciting.  It allows for incredible mobility across devices, very low levels of downtime and incredible speeds of performance at very low historical costs.  It also does not need a lot of people, and this should worry politicians.  For all the talk of getting jobs back to America, neither Trump nor Clinton addressed the true elephant in the room.....what do we do with the technology displaced?  And, the problem is only going to get worse with the introduction of things like self-driving cars.  We need to wake up to the fact that technology may be moving at a faster rate than we can deal with, but who is going to tell it to slow down?