Remember Jim Ulvog’s blog Outrun Change (that I previously mentioned)? Well, Ulvog has written a post entitled Another description of change taking place – dematerialization. After quoting from a recently Matt Ridley item in the Wall Street Journal, The Future Is So Bright, it’s Dematerializing, Ulvog goes on to observe:
Music, books, photographs. All have dematerialized. The last half-dozen books I bought were in Kindle format.
Add to his list: x-rays, both at the hospital and dentist’s office. Over the next few years, medical records will dematerialize.
Ulvog then observes how his own field, accounting, has changed because of this dematerialization.
And he’s right – to a point.
You see, from his perspective (and yours and mine), it appears that things have dematerialized. After all, I’m writing this post without having to use any paper.
But when we buy music or e-books, where do they come from? And when we store photograph and blog posts, where do they go? Well, in certain cases, they will come from and go to Prineville, Oregon:
Apple Inc. confirmed today that it bought 160 acres near Prineville in central Oregon for a new data center, making it the latest tech giant to locate a server farm in the state….
The Oregonian reported in December that Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple was eyeing the land, about a quarter mile south of a data center operated by Facebook….
Amazon and Google already own data centers in Oregon, too.
And everywhere else, also. These “server farms” take up a lot of space, and while it might be less than the physical equivalents, we have to remember that all of our so-called “virtual” items actually have to be stored SOMEWHERE.