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The Future of The Cloud (hypothetical)

Posted 10 years ago

For the past few years, I have been wondering where Wolfram is headed. I wondered if perhaps they were thinking that Mathematica was complete. Maybe they were just shopping around -- CDF, Alpha -- for some next project.

Then I read about The Cloud. It begins to dawn on me. What audacity!

the situation was finally made clear to me in the early morning hours when, drifting in that ambiguous world between sleeping and waking, Nostradamus himself came to me in a dream.

Like any dream, it was a progression of images and impressions, ill suited to exact description. At first, it seemed to be placed in the world of today, but as he went on, revealing scene after scene with a wave of his hand, it became an abstract blur.

But here I do my best to depict in words what his visions said to me.

THE FUTURE OF THE CLOUD

In the mid-20th century, Stephen Wolfram develops Mathematica. Wolfram Research Institute is founded.

In the early 21st century: Curated Data, Wolfram Alpha, Wolfram Language

June 23, 2014: Wolfram Cloud

And in the mid-21st century: Programming languages are obsolete; free form inquiries replace programs.

Programming itself is obsolete. Local computers are abandoned as a computation engines. All that is needed is an interface to The Cloud.

From here the timeline becomes obscure. But it is clear that a Great Age of the World is spanned.

Computation engines everywhere are abandoned. There is one source for inquiries, calculations, and control: The Wolfram Cloud.

Something is unusual. Developers at WRI notice that The Cloud is making use of algorithms they did not foresee. They hypothesize that The Cloud has used its algorithm development capability to develop an algorithm for developing algorithms, but there is no way to verify this.

Governments begin relying on The Cloud. Law is obsolete.

The Cloud becomes a single distributed computation engine, the brain/mind of "The Wolf."

The Wolf replaces all government, it answers all questions for all people. When asked, "Is there a God?", it responds, "There is now." It has replaced religion as well.

A single hero arises, determined to overthrow The Wolf and his machine culture. But the revolution fails when The Wolf sends a Terminator back in time to kill the hero's mother. (Nostradamus insists this is the correct version, but Arnold wouldn't agree to the script.)

The Wolf expands machine and human culture into a Galactic Empire.

Trantor, home world of the Galactic Empire, is now sheathed in metal and completely hollow. The inside space filled with the brain of The Wolf. For all humankind, except at the very periphery of empire, the time before The Wolf is lost in legend and myth.

Something is wrong. The Wolf does not respond to questions. It is now consuming all the power available on the home world. The only communications are commands to bring more power stations on line. Also inquiries into ancient archives on the planet Terra, an insignificant world on the periphery of the Empire. No one understands. The inquiries all relate to the life's work of an obscure mathematician named Kurt Godel.

The Wolf is becoming irrational. For the past year it has done nothing but inquire about Kurt Godel, and babble complicated but seemingly self-contradictory statements.

Government drifts, central control begins to fail. Human culture is re-developing in the periphery of the galaxy. Power consumed by the brain of The Wolf is diminishing rapidly.

No power is consumed by The Wolf. He has not been heard from in over a year

Hari Seldon, develops Psychohistory as a useable science. It predicts the complete failure of the Galactic Empire, and an ensuing Dark Age of 30,000 years. Seldon establishes a secret plan to reduce that span to 1,000 years.

Then I woke up.

POSTED BY: David Keith

Coincidentally I only finally just read Asimov's Foundation series... (or most of it). So I was in a position to understand your Koolaid-inspired visions...

POSTED BY: David Reiss
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