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The State of Cloud Technologies: The Past Controls the Future

In George Orwell’s Book 1984, the party slogan was, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” And today, it is clear that the environment we now live in is a culmination of the many decisions that were made in the past. Many innovations we now take for granted—or expect to become broadly accepted—would never have been possible if past investments and research had not laid the foundation for them. Cloud technology is playing a critical role in many of these advances.

Foundational Technologies Pave the Way to the Future

Every day, a new article appears on self-driving cars and trucks. Companies such as Apple, Tesla, General Motors, Google (with Waymo), Uber, and NVIDIA all have interests in the success of the technology underlying autonomous vehicles. To make self-driving cars possible, precise location acuity is essential. Modern global positioning systems (GPSs) recognize the exact location and the sophisticated analytics that constitute the “brains” of the vehicle to make decisions based on the surroundings and ever-changing circumstances (big data streams). Predictions can then be extrapolated regarding the likelihood of immediate changes. This is the essence of how autonomous vehicles use artificial intelligence (AI). Although these ideas have been available for generations, only modern computers and the accompanying processing power have allowed the analytical conclusions to occur in real time.

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Conscious decisions pertaining to investments in a variety of disparate areas often result years later in products that are very different than intended. For example, in 1968, Spencer Silver, a scientist working at 3M, was attempting to develop a “super-strong” adhesive and accidently created a reusable pressure-sensitive adhesive. This discovery was initially considered to be something short of a success. However, 6 years later, the pressure-sensitive adhesive was reapplied to tiny strips of yellow paper and the Post-it Note was born. 

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