While pursuing ideas related to the Connected Age, I’ve read some stuff on collaborative consumption and the sharing economy (think Zipcar, AirBNB, Freecycle).
The Industrial Age was defined, in large part, by ownership. In Connected Age, we’re seeing a move to access.
This lead me to think about “the cloud”, where our data is stored, and how Amazon’s EC2 exemplifies this shift to access. You don’t need to have racks and racks of your own computers — just rent access to their service.
But then I thought about their major outage a few weeks back, and how the sharing economy could actually do EC2 one better. The problem with EC2 is that there’s still a singular point of engagement, and if it goes down, you’re hosed.
So, here’s the billion dollar idea I have no idea how to make happen. Provide Amazon EC2-iike services, but with a SETI@home-like distributed computing model. There has to be lots of spare cycles and storage, accessible through high-bandwidth connections. And with a distributed model, you could avoid the single point of failure that seemed to bring down EC2.
I’m sure this would be an enormous technical challenge, but the upside seems enormous.