The last time I encountered Nicholas Carr was when I read his IT Doesn’t Matter in my Global IT Management class (later extended to his first book Does IT Matter?). It must’ve been the dearth of compelling arguments that never converted my thoughts to agree with his theories. He questioned whether IT delivers as much as it costs to implement it. In The Big Switch, Carr once again attempts to paint a pretty picture about how the roles of IT ought to be. Let’s just say he failed to “big switch” me to agree with him.
The book starts off with historical references such as the advent of the irrigation system and electricity, and how these different technologies contributed to establishing a basis for other economic activities in our society. He takes this example from the 20th century and makes an analogy to the advancements of computing in the 21st century. “World wide computer”, he proposes, will be the term that will be coined to a computing system that will allow individuals to access infinite information and computing power, anywhere, anytime. Basically, he theorizes that the current IT infrastructure will erode away as more and more people take direct control of processing, managing, and accessing information… An extra notch up from the whole cloud computing concept, perhaps? Will the big switch be a mass consolidation of data centers? No more corporate-owned IT ? Carr questions if this phenomenon, if it does come true, will eliminate IT jobs than create them.
Of course, technology is becoming more pervasive and ubiquitous today (as it is with water and electricity, according to Carr) but… this doesn’t mean that technology is suddenly going to become intangible and floating. Ten years from now, even if cloud computing plus Carr’s utopian ideas becomes a widely accepted “utility”, I’m sure we will find other ways to keep “real technology” intact.
dee’s rec: 3/5