A pioneer of cloud computing and big data offers his vision of the future world taking shape around us.
Big data, cloud computing, the mobile internet, AI, wearables, robots, virtual reality, the internet of things, blockchain—every day the internet era seems to give birth to new, sometimes disquieting technological innovations. Science and technology can feel like a wild horse roaming loose in the community: it's hard to tell where it's going, but it affects everyone.
Jian Wang was the architect of Alibaba's cloud and has been the driving force behind its technology innovations, including the City Brain initiative to develop a new digital infrastructure for sustainable cities. Being Online is his meditation on this epochal moment in the internet era, when the conjunction of cloud computing (and cloud storage), big data, and the mobile internet has erased the difference between being offline and on; computing can be done in the cloud rather than in a box on a home or office computer, lowering its cost; and data is connected, making it big and multiplying its usefulness exponentially as well as its value. The moment we are in will be as transformative for humanity as Henry's Ford's production line. Data is changing the nature of business. Computing is reshaping the economy. The cloud will help you do things you could never do before and at scales that would previously have been impossible. It will help us discover a world we have never seen and anticipate before others do; like a microscope, it will reveal things in our world we have never been able to perceive. Jian Wang's visionary book lays out the implications of this epochal shift, how to think about being online, and how to approach being in the cloud.
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