Commentary

Microsoft Donates $1 Billion To The Public Cloud

Cloud computing supports search, data and digital advertising in general. You buy a Microsoft Surface Book and a bundled package of options and it comes with storage in the cloud.

Microsoft pledges a commitment to putting cloud computing in the hands of the public, so earlier this week the company committed to donating $1 billion to public cloud computing resources during the next three years. The funds will go to support 70,000 non-profits and non-governmental organizations worldwide.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella describes the public cloud in a post as a privacy-protected data and storage service that renders on a massive network for public use. "Cloud computing makes it possible to reason over quantities of data to produce specific insights and intelligence," Nadella wrote. "It converts guesswork and speculation into predictive and analytical power."

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The rationale for Microsoft's announcement comes from the thinking that cloud services can make data available to many more who need the insight, but the down side also points to making the data available to many more who want the insight -- not just for the good of science and technology, and positive economic and social changes for the betterment of human services, but the more negative side of social destruction.

How do we protect that data -- personal and private -- to use for the good of humanity? Risks are inherent in the cloud, as shown with the recent history of government and healthcare site data breaches.

Nadella refers to cloud computing as a tool to eliminate hunger, poverty, poor health and a lack of education. He highlights the importance of cloud computing in playing a role through data.

This week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Nadella joined other leaders to focus on the fourth industrial revolution, the blurring boundary between humans and machines. The leaders will discuss ways to make the benefits of cloud computing universally accessible, and how to provide less wealthy societies access to the data, intelligence, analytics and insights that come from the power of mobile and cloud computing, which presents a double-edged sword.

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