Lest we forget – Digital is Physical

by | Aug 13, 2021 | ICT4D |

lest we forget

As we lay on the grass, watching clouds float by, we imagine what shapes they remind us of. My daughter sees a unicorn, my son an elephant. And then the questions come. What are clouds? Why do they exist? I do my best to answer them. And the children are amazed that water and ice can float. But questions come. If they are made of something, how do airplanes fly through them? Why doesn’t the water or ice fall down?

The reality of clouds being made of ‘something’ is mind expanding for the kids. And perhaps we need to be reminded of this when talk of the digital ‘cloud’. Those files, photos, apps and so on which live in the ‘cloud’ is a physical place. It is not some magic land of nothingness. It is not a big filing cabinet of physical photos or files, but rather servers full of bits and bytes.

We often forget, or are encouraged to forget, the physicality of the digital space, of digital transformation. The physical is treated as an externality, as collateral damage at times. This article is a bit long, but helps remind us of physicality of digital.

Remembering is good. It is important. And in light of the UN’s climate change report, remembering is worth discussing.

The choice is up to us.

Photo by Anton Darius


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *