Surya's Essays

What if everything's in the cloud?

Will the cloud contribute to economic disparity in the future?

Here's what is in the cloud:
1. Streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
2. Cloud Compute (AWS, GCP, Azure)
3. Streaming games (GeForce now, Stadia, Vector dash)
4. Browsers in the cloud (
5. Probably a lot more than I'm not listing

This incentivizes people to have very high internet speeds, which many people don't have, let alone having internet. However for the people who do have internet, they'll be able to access services they maybe couldn't afford (games on geforce, which they'd need a xbox to play)

One of the bigger threats is given this far more centralized system, what will happen when these services inevitably go down (referring to the consecutive downtime on various platforms over the past couple months)?

Now the dilemma is:

Centralized systems in the cloud:
Pros: Access to more people, regardless of hardware
Cons: Prone to downtime shutting everyone off the service, latency, need good internet

Decentralized systems (self hosted):
Pros: Not very prone to downtime (you can still play minecraft), You can use your relatively powerful hardware
Cons: You need relatively good hardware,
Given that games you play are using gaming servers, if they go down, you can't play

So essentially:

Cloud: You can use something so cheap as a raspberry pi to do pro-level stuff all with the power of your internet connection

Local: Internet connection supplements your hardware to create an experience based on how good your hardware is

Centralized: Access to people who have very good internet, regardless of hardware

Decentralized: Access to people who have good hardware, regardless of internet

At the end of the day, having everything in the cloud is a bonus for people who have cheap hardware but great internet (first thing that comes to mind is India), but people who have somewhat bad internet with great hardware (I'm thinking in the Bay Area since internet here is somewhat expensive and many (including myself) can't afford highest of prices to get something like gigabit internet) it isn't a bonus.

I can't attest to how the space is going to grow and change, but my prediction is that more and more people will go to the cloud (places like India or young gamers who don't have money to buy an expensive machine) while a somewhat good minority will have good hardware either since the games support "on-device" support (which may be a thing in the future) or because those machines are also their work machines :).

Writing articles about several interesting topics