Charles Leadbeater in Edge:

Leadbeater200 We are about to get a very different kind of Internet, one replete with huge potential and danger. The spread of cloud computing will allow much greater personalisation and mobility, constant real time connection and easier collaboration. Cloud computing will give rise to a cloud culture. Many of the purveyors of that culture will be cloud capitalists. Our chief challenge will be to make cloud culture and cloud capitalism work, for public as well as private good.

The Net we have grown up with was based around data and software stored quite close to where it is used on personal and mainframe computers. That gave people a sense of ownership and control, exploiting cheap local storage because the bandwidth to download data from remote sources was too expensive and unreliable. The Net was a way for us easily to link these disparate and disconnected machines, with their separate data and software. In the world of cloud computing our data — emails, documents, pictures, songs — would be stored remotely in a digital cloud hanging above us, always there for us to access from any device we like: computer, television, games console, handheld and mobile, embedded in our kitchen table, bathroom mirror or car dashboard. We should be able to access our data from anywhere, thanks to always on broadband and draw down as much or as little as and when we need. Instead of installing software on our computer we would pay for it only when we needed it.

More here.