Fuel of the future
How is it shaping up?
May 6th 2017
AN OIL refinery is an industrial cathedral, a place of power, drama and dark recesses: ornate cracking towers its gothic pinnacles, flaring gas its stained glass, the stench of hydrocarbons its heady incense. Data centres, in contrast, offer a less obvious spectacle: windowless grey buildings that boast no height or ornament, they seem to stretch to infinity.
Yet the two have much in common. For one thing, both are stuffed with pipes. In refineries these collect petrol, propane and other components of crude oil, which have been separated by heat. In big data centres they transport air to cool tens of thousands of computers which extract value—patterns, predictions and other insights—from raw digital information.
Friday, May 5, 2017
The data economy demands a new approach to antitrust rules
A NEW commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era. These titans—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America. Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
It is getting ever easier to record anything, or everything, that you see. This opens fascinating possibilities—and alarming ones
Nov 16th 2013 | SAN FRANCISCO
ABOUT halfway through Dave Eggers’s bestselling dystopian satire on Silicon Valley, “The Circle”, the reader meets Stewart, a bald, silent, stooped 60-year-old who has “been filming, recording, every moment of his life now for five years”. Stewart is the first of the novel’s characters to make all his actions visible to anyone with a computer who cares to look—the first “transparent man”.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Balance of Power in Ad Industry at Stake as Google, Microsoft Seek to Control Web Tracking
The Wall Street Journal
By ELIZABETH DWOSKIN
Updated Oct. 28, 2013 6:50 p.m. ET
The end could be near for cookies, the tiny pieces of code that marketers deploy on Web browsers to track people's online movements, serve targeted advertising and amass valuable user profiles.