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A Prehistory of the Cloud

AUTHOR Hu, Tung-Hui
PUBLISHER Mit Press (09/02/2016)
PRODUCT TYPE Paperback (Paperback)

Description

The militarized legacy of the digital cloud: how the cloud grew out of older network technologies and politics.

We may imagine the digital cloud as placeless, mute, ethereal, and unmediated. Yet the reality of the cloud is embodied in thousands of massive data centers, any one of which can use as much electricity as a midsized town. Even all these data centers are only one small part of the cloud. Behind that cloud-shaped icon on our screens is a whole universe of technologies and cultural norms, all working to keep us from noticing their existence. In this book, Tung-Hui Hu examines the gap between the real and the virtual in our understanding of the cloud.

Hu shows that the cloud grew out of such older networks as railroad tracks, sewer lines, and television circuits. He describes key moments in the prehistory of the cloud, from the game "Spacewar" as exemplar of time-sharing computers to Cold War bunkers that were later reused as data centers. Countering the popular perception of a new "cloudlike" political power that is dispersed and immaterial, Hu argues that the cloud grafts digital technologies onto older ways of exerting power over a population. But because we invest the cloud with cultural fantasies about security and participation, we fail to recognize its militarized origins and ideology. Moving between the materiality of the technology itself and its cultural rhetoric, Hu's account offers a set of new tools for rethinking the contemporary digital environment.

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Product Format
Product Details
ISBN-13: 9780262529969
ISBN-10: 0262529963
Binding: Paperback or Softback (Trade Paperback (Us))
Content Language: English
More Product Details
Page Count: 240
Carton Quantity: 36
Product Dimensions: 5.90 x 0.50 x 8.90 inches
Weight: 0.70 pound(s)
Feature Codes: Bibliography, Index, Price on Product, Maps, Illustrated
Country of Origin: US
Subject Information
BISAC Categories
Computers | Cloud Computing
Computers | Social Aspects
Grade Level: College Freshman and up
Dewey Decimal: 004.6
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015001899
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
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The militarized legacy of the digital cloud: how the cloud grew out of older network technologies and politics.

We may imagine the digital cloud as placeless, mute, ethereal, and unmediated. Yet the reality of the cloud is embodied in thousands of massive data centers, any one of which can use as much electricity as a midsized town. Even all these data centers are only one small part of the cloud. Behind that cloud-shaped icon on our screens is a whole universe of technologies and cultural norms, all working to keep us from noticing their existence. In this book, Tung-Hui Hu examines the gap between the real and the virtual in our understanding of the cloud.

Hu shows that the cloud grew out of such older networks as railroad tracks, sewer lines, and television circuits. He describes key moments in the prehistory of the cloud, from the game "Spacewar" as exemplar of time-sharing computers to Cold War bunkers that were later reused as data centers. Countering the popular perception of a new "cloudlike" political power that is dispersed and immaterial, Hu argues that the cloud grafts digital technologies onto older ways of exerting power over a population. But because we invest the cloud with cultural fantasies about security and participation, we fail to recognize its militarized origins and ideology. Moving between the materiality of the technology itself and its cultural rhetoric, Hu's account offers a set of new tools for rethinking the contemporary digital environment.

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Paperback