The cloud is the future of technology. We live in revolutionary times where technological and computer advancement takes quantum leaps towards an unimaginable and mind-blowing future. The computer is becoming ubiquitous in everything that you can think of in our today’s macrocosm. The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in the technological sphere was a catalyst that moved the world more in-depth into the computation deep-space. The world we live in today is amid an intelligent transformation. A lot of this change is being powered by the cloud.
Our first article here on Oaekpost titled, “The Power and Future of the Cloud Computing Part I,” did some justice in covering the basics and cloud computing power. We established that “the cloud is the autobahn that delivers flexibility, capacity, and speed to consumers of cloud services at an affordable rate.” Some of the services are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). We also highlighted some predictions about the cloud, according to facts from Google’s white paper titled, “Future of cloud computing: A view of the future of cloud computing, through the eyes of the luminaries who helped build it.”
Facts about cloud computing are organic at best. It is an animated adventure as cloud computing is advancing and changing at an astronomical rate. Network-based computing that existed forty years ago, which the cloud is—a computer network—is not what it is today. It has evolved. It is still evolving. It will continue to evolve way into the future. Hence, our dialogue is organic because of the notion of cloud computing—the term first coined by then Google CEO Eric Schmidt on August 9, 2006, at the Search Engine Strategies Conference—continuing to morph.
We have only yet scratched the surface concerning the power and future possibilities of cloud computing. Prominent and up-and-coming players in the cloud computing sphere need not be static in thought and actions when it comes to the cloud. They must be quick to evolve as the cloud continues to expand, metamorphose, and advance. So, our dialogue continues. As we move forward on our search to further understand the power and future cloud computing. What best way to do so than talking to industry professionals who live and breathe in the cloud via their sundry experiences.
Conversation with Chinomnso John Okebie hosted by Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze
On November 19, 2020, I had the profound privilege of discussing with an IT specialist, legal professional, Founder, and CEO, at CJO Consulting, Chinomnso John Okebie, who currently consults to the Government of the Northwest Territories in Canada. In our discussion, I sought an opinion on the future of cloud computing. The summation of his position is that “it is hard to prognosticate concerning the future of cloud computing. At best, we can only extrapolate what the future of cloud computing will be. The territory of possibility is quite vast,” said Mr. Okebie. Other factors that we established are detailed in our discussion below:
Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze (OAE): We are joined here today via call at Oaekpost by Chinomnso John Okebie, Chairman and CEO of CJO Consulting out of Calgary, in the Canadian Western Province of Alberta. In the time I have known Mr. Okebie, I will assert that he is a mega-mind in IT and the legal spheres that people need to listen to. Thank you very much for giving us the honor of tapping into the depths of your super prolific mind and being with us here today, Chinomnso; we appreciate it.
Chinomnso John Okebie (CJO): Thank you for having me here at Oaekpost. I believe that your organization will be a jet setter in media as you continue to transcend to new heights. It is an honor to be part of this interview.
OAE: Thanks for that vote of confidence. We appreciate that as we keep striving to attain new heights daily. So. without further ado, let’s get down to the brass tacks of it all. Tell us, what then are your thoughts on the future of cloud computing?
CJO: The future of cloud computing will be impacted by the following factors: regulation, security, cost, and scalability. These factors will drive the change that we will see in the macrocosm of cloud computing.
OAE: So, how will the said factors—regulation, security, cost, and scalability—play a role in your opinion?
CJO: Let’s look at it this way, with the astronomical growth of activities on the web, there are bound to be incidents—for instance, a cyber-attack or breach—that will occur. Such an experience on the web will prompt the law to regulate the industry and make it safer. The security will come as a response and due diligence from the companies to respond to the established law requirements.
OAE: Hence, you are saying that these incidents on the web will cause regulations to be established by the law to help protect IT corporations?
CJO: Yes…as much as these corporations want to respond to the requirements and regulations, these enterprises will have to look at the cost implications and how scalable that system would be. Will changing the status quo of the technology to meet the law’s needs impact the number of people using the system from a cost perspective? For instance, we have a public cloud, and there was an incident of fraud. Scalability occurs when these organizations provide services to their customers via different hierarchies of service.
In the fraud instance, the cloud vendor may not want to implement comprehensive security across the cloud. The reason could be that they may not want to bear the direct cost of implementing this profound change. So, these cloud companies could decide to partner with a cybersecurity company (e.g., Cisco, RSA, etc.) to implement the general cloud security that further protects the whole cloud to respond to their customers’ needs.
However, some businesses using that cloud service may want an additional protection level and would like to scale up their security. The cloud company moves to provide a private cloud within the public cloud domain. The vendor could further stratify its services by providing a dedicated private cloud and a shared private cloud. With these different layers come higher levels of security being provided to cater to the clients’ needs. Hence, the vendor is providing a scalable resource of value for the customers.
OAE: With all, you have said so far, you are stipulating that these factors are the things that will contribute to the future changes that we will see in cloud computing. So, in your terms, we can’t really predict the future of the cloud, but we can watch and experience the changes to come through the lenses of regulations, security, cost, and scalability. So, you still maintain that it is hard to project the cloud’s future, right?
CJO: It’s tough to project the cloud’s future or what it could potentially become. For instance, let us look at ten years ago. No one would have guessed the number of security vulnerabilities we have experienced on the web in that timespan. As technology advances, more things are coming up…
OAE: Hence, could we say then that the cloud’s future will be an organic experience? It is not absolute but subjective and dependent on the changes that are happening at a Herculean proportion…
CJO: Yes, we could classify it as that—there is an extreme extrapolation of knowledge that will influence the cloud’s direction. The actual picture is hard to dictate. People and corporations will make general forecasts about the future of cloud computing. However, I have mentioned the factors that will play a huge role in mapping the future cloud computing future we will experience. As a general forecast, we can say that security will advance due to hacking and web vulnerability going to the next level—also, the general advancement and growth of technologies that will influence the cloud computing world.
OAE: You state that “security will advance as a result of hacking and web vulnerability.” Then, could we clearly say—based on your assertions—that security will be a significant focus in the future of the cloud?
CJO: Yes, that is my assertion. Hackers don’t just hack for the sake of hacking. Most hackers you see are mathematicians that have a clear understanding of value.
Most people that hack systems are not the people that have the business interest. The actual businesspersons who have the business interest go back and cost the implication of accessing some of these systems. They do it to create value.
Let’s take Amazon Web Services (AWS) as an instance. On a typical day, AWS could get close to a million hacking attempts banging on their virtual doors. These hackers, usually mathematicians and physical scientists, are usually funded by business corporations and individuals, mostly in rogue regimes or more so by western governments as part of intelligence operations. Legal scholars have widely argued the ethical or nonethical nature of such operations and remain to be seen. Also, the deficiencies in a globally harmonized internal law on the web’s criminal aspect further complicates the process. These professionals are busy making informed guesses on clients’ monetary and information values, which have infrastructures and data on AWS should they penetrate the AWS to obtain such data.
These hackers are paid as employees to attempt to penetrate the target host, in this case, AWS. The goal is to penetrate the system to show its vulnerability. Should they succeed in such an attempt, the data garnered can generate value for other tech companies. It will also stir up issues in court that creates room for further litigation in court. They also have an inside value from the information they garner because they can sell such data for a fee.
OAE: Obviously, they are not white hat hackers or ethical hackers, nor are they gray hat hackers? So, would you call these hacks to these businessmen or corporations, black hat hackers? Are they bad people?
CJO: Well, in my view, legal training and understanding of legal theory, I find it hard to use the word bad. This is not to say that tort does not exists in law. Good and bad can be subjective and depends on the adducible facts and evidence before you and the regulations you compare those facts after. Something might be bad in one context and good in another. If we look at the rules and regulations in the North American context, it isn’t good.
Remember that some of these hackers and business hooligans come from countries that praise such actions. For instance, places like Russia—take the Balkans in the former Soviet Union. The communist party of China also encourages such too. We will describe them as authoritarian regimes in the West, but these countries see themselves as revolutionary regimes.
For instance, the Communist Party of China sees itself as the only country that rises against the West. Their ideology is that the West plans to destroy this world. Hence, citizens are encouraged towards such supposed “revolutionary” acts. Come to think of it; China encourages its students to the United States, Canada, and Europe to study these technologies and return to their country with the knowledge they garner to work for their government. They can now give their governments information as they are conversant with the systems they learned about in the West.
We in the West, see this as unfair competition. However, in China, they are only trying to gain a competitive advantage over the West. We cannot exonerate western nations from all this—they hack other countries too.
OAE: So far, you have spoken about four things: regulations, security, cost, and scalability. You have asserted that these are the times that will determine the future of the cloud. So, would you say technically that cloud computing will change the way we work?
CJO: Absolutely. I am telling you right now that the cloud has already changed the way we work, and it will continue to do so. Cloud computing is going to get more advanced in the future. Technology, at its early stages, is very disruptive. Cloud computing, as of today, has already disrupted the whole society. Imagine five or ten years ago, talking about working 100% remotely from your house—it was almost a near-impossible feat. Today, there are many workplaces that you don’t need to step into the office—you can do everything from the comfort of your home. Where in time past, you would have to go into work do these things…
OAE: Exactly…and the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world today accentuated the need for corporations to gravitate their workplaces towards the cloud. For instance, the major tech companies (e.g., Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc.) in the Greater Seattle Area in the State of Washington now allow most of their staff to telecommute to work—and the cloud is making this possible.
CJO: …Exactly. There are so many jobs like that now—thanks to cloud computing. Some of these jobs are not even technology-related jobs.
For instance, these are healthcare jobs, where somebody will not have to see the doctor. With the way technology is disrupting everything, it will get to a point where somebody could totally see a doctor from home. Then the doctor sends the person to a center where you probably won’t find a single human being; it’s all electronic systems in place. The person goes into a booth that is 100% automated.
Let’s say he goes into a lab booth. Artificial intelligence (AI) or a robot will find the veins and draw the blood for a test in the booth. The AI or robot will pass it through the system and do all the necessary tests required for the patient visit, and the test result comes out. Hospital staff doesn’t have to carry out these patients’ medical tests and services physically. The hospital staff or lab professional could be directing the patient from the comfort of his home too. For instance, the sonographer can instruct the patient to walk into the x-ray booth, and the whole process is carried out via telemedicine. The medical professionals in the future will see their clients, but they are not physically in touch with them.
OAE: And all this will be powered by the cloud?
CJO: Yes…all these things art over the Internet—the AI, the robotics, and other platforms are right on the cloud. Once you break the Internet connection, none of these systems will work. Right off the cloud—the software, the firmware, or infrastructure—in conjunction with the Internet is powering these processes. It’s all about the Internet-of-Things (IoT). That’s what it’s all about. Internet-of-Things (IoT) is pretty much using the IT, the cloud, and the Internet to integrate any business’s strategic operation.
OAE: So, technically, in the future, IoT and all these new developments could affect software development, right? Because these new technologies are coming out, they have to write software for it. Do you say that cloud computing is also changing how software developers will be working in the future? Because they have to write programs for these things to work remotely, right?
CJO: Yes, it has already changed, and it will continue to change as the cloud advances. Because of the cloud, programming has advanced. In 1989 or 1990, you would be well-off with one programming language and have a job for life. Now, you are wasting your time if you don’t know at least eight programming languages for you to even have a career in technology and programming.
OAE: As you have espoused, cloud computing is already changing the way we work. You have said that it will impact security at great length. You have said that it will also affect regulations, cost, and scalability. You have also said that it will impact the way programmers work. However, back to security again, you establish that there will be more vulnerabilities, and as a result, cloud computing security and security at large need to advance. Care to delve more into the safety of cloud computing?
CJO: Going back to security, as the systems are changed, upgraded, and improved, the hackers are coming up with more quick ways of penetrating those future systems. They are trying, failing, and learning from their mistakes. Finding out ways that they can penetrate systems anonymously and exit anonymously. Know this, though; any hacker can be ethical and non-ethical. What makes you an ethical hacker is that you have received the company’s consent to hack their system to look for vulnerabilities. There is nothing different between what an ethical hacker (i.e., White Hat) does and what an actual hacker (i.e., Black Hat) does. One has the company’s consent, and the other does not have the authorization to do so.
OAE: With more vulnerabilities increasing, that means there will be more online security firms in the future—still relating it with cloud computing.
CJO: Yeah…obviously, security is a huge market when it comes to the cloud and beyond. There would be more online security firms as cloud computing continues to advance.
Now, when these companies find these vulnerabilities, they patent the vulnerabilities they have discovered. Now, the big tech companies out there (e.g., Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon, IBM, Cisco, etc.) also hire these hackers to pen-test their systems in search of vulnerabilities. Should these hackers find holes in these systems, they sell them as patent-right companies to these corporations that hired them to pen-test their system.
The gaps that they see are the company’s intellectual property rights or the hackers that discovered it. The company or hackers will package it and register that right. They will now present these vulnerabilities to the vendors for a not-so-cheap fee. Many times, these vendors prefer doing this to discover vulnerabilities as they can patch their systems internally. It makes more sense for these companies to pay for these vulnerabilities upfront and then repair their systems to make them more secure. These gaps could cost the organization money, reputation, and business to their end-users if found after the fact.
OAE: From all you have said as we wrap up, you have established that security, regulation, cost, and scalability will affect the future of cloud computing. You stipulate that we can’t make a definite forecast about the future of cloud computing. All that we can do is to extrapolate about what the future of cloud computing will be. You also said that cloud computing is already changing the future by the things happening today. You established that it is already morphing the dynamics of the workplace. You also confirmed that as cloud computing advances that software development will again rise. We also agreed that there would be more online security outfits, as cloud computing continues to thrive.
CJO: Yes, and there is one crucial thing that needs to be pointed out. There is this standard narrative that with all the changes that people will lose jobs. That is true; people will lose jobs. What the advancement in technology does is that it makes the workplace a lot more specialized. There are two things; people will lose jobs because they are too lazy to improve themselves, or they are generally not interested in improving themselves. Second, people lose jobs because the system has been taken over by another method (e.g., AI, robotics, etc.).
Many people confuse AI and robotics as the things that take away jobs—that is necessarily not true. Why? Because at the backend of the AI system, you still need someone to help run the AI or robotic systems. The fundamental problem that makes many people lose their jobs is a failure to retrain themselves after systems are upgraded to AI or automated systems.
When systems are automated, they become specialized systems. When it was in a manual process, you didn’t need any special skills to operate them. But for you to run it now because it has been upgraded with AI systems attached to it, you need to retrain yourself to understand the new system. Hence, if you are unwilling to do it, you lose out on the job opportunity. Those who are willing to retrain themselves become the beneficiaries of such positions.
As a matter of fact, I will say that AI and Robotics create more jobs. Sometimes, in the manufacturing field that uses AI or robotics, you have at least four people operating one robotic terminal. One person can do the job; the other three people could do crosschecks to ensure everything is in order.
Hence, if people are not continuously improving themselves by retraining, they will obviously lose their jobs. Naturally, humans are resistant to change. Many get set in their ways and refuse to change. However, some people accept change, and those are the ones that will reap the benefits of jobs that AI and Robotics will bring in sync with the advancement of cloud computing.
OAE: In your last response, you have infused another dynamic into our discussion. So far, we have established that cloud computing advancement will improve software development that will help build and manage these new technologies. We also furthered our discussion on securities. Now you are adding that cloud computing is going to impact learning and education.
CJO: The cloud, AI, and Robotics may not necessarily change education per se; however, when a process is specialized, it will require more training. The only other narrative I added is that people have this natural fear that they will lose jobs when processes change. That narrative is false.
When you look at its reality, most of these robotic and advanced systems require more hands to manage them. They need humans who are in the back end to control and crosscheck their performance. Because a higher level of accuracy is required, multiple human eyes must monitor these new systems for better accuracy and proper data documentation.
If people entertain the notion of fear towards retraining, that may handicap them not to retrain themselves. As a result, they will eventually lose their job to those who decide to take that leap to garner that new knowledge. It all boils down to the factor of choice.
OAE: You have thrown yet another dynamic into it, and I believe that our leaders are learning a lot from our dialogue. We are discussing how the cloud will impact the future. We established that cloud computing advancement would impact software development, security, and education.
Now, you are talking about fear—that is, people having an apprehension towards the continuous improvement of training. You also spoke about others who will have the needed motivation to improve themselves via systemic learnings. Speaking of motivation, I would say that you have thrown the curveball of psychology into the mix. So, are you saying the future of the cloud will impact our psyche?
CJO: I will not exactly say that or put it necessarily in that way. I only threw in that curveball because people change when changes like this happen—because what we are talking about here is a Herculean change, for that matter. The changes we see are not just to the workplace, but the cloud and its future are also changing the way we live and the things that we do.
There is always this natural notion, particularly when it comes to jobs, that the constant improvement to technology and the addition of all these complex systems take away jobs from humans. But we tend to forget that these complex robotic systems or AI systems don’t work in isolation. There is still a need for supervision of these new systems, and sometimes this cannot be done by just one person—you will even need a team for these functions.
Note that a robotic or AI system is heavily limited to the codes programmed into it. AI systems try to develop intelligence. However, all these are within the bounds of what has been programmed into it. When you have people observing and assisting these programs on the backend, the corrections they input into these systems’ governing program further make the system smarter at the end of the day.
I am saying all these things to debunk the narrative that people will lose their jobs when you upgrade systems. In my opinion, and from what I know about technology, this narrative is not valid. I believe that systems like these can create more jobs, albeit specialized jobs.
So, if you are someone that goes to work and doesn’t embrace furthering your brain, and you are not interested in improving yourself, then you are the one that will not have a job in the future of all these things we are discussing. However, those who will exert themselves to the utmost degree to learn the new and changing systems will be inundated with jobs. They won’t have to look for the positions; the jobs will look for them.
OAE: We have covered many points. We have concluded that “Cloud computing will change the way that we work.” So, we can say that “Cloud computing is revolutionizing work,” right?
CJO: It has revolutionized work, and it will even further revolutionize work.
OAE: Okay, I am going to throw in another final dynamic to our discussion. How would you say that cloud computing is going to impact data analytics? Because with all these new things happening—new technologies, new software, IoT, etc.—all funneling out of the cloud, there will be a Brobdingnagian amount of data. So, how will it transform the work of people in data analytics?
CJO: Data analytics, Big Data, or Data Engineering in general, will be impacted. However, it will depend on the nature of the information collected. Obviously, the regulations and laws will have to come front and center for data collected. If the data collected are necessary business information to improve business processes—provided there are no privacy infringement—then that data can be fed back into the system to develop more business intelligence (BI). That is the whole idea of data analysis or engineering—you collect intelligence based on the system’s operations and processes; you analyze them and feed them back into the AI system to make it more efficient and creative.
There are three things you must consider before data engineering can begin. First are the laws and regulations governing data collection. There are many laws and rules regarding what kinds of information you need to collect. Secondly, you must also look at your duty of care as someone collecting information. Thirdly, you must look at the user consent. You want the end-users to consent that their data is being collected, and you must also make the purpose clear to them. All this will fall into the regulatory aspect of things, as I mentioned from the beginning of this interview. So, there are no presumptions here because the end-users give consent from the get-go.
OAE: It’s been a time well spent, and we want to thank Mr. Okebie for gracing our studios with his presence. The ideas he has presented are profound. It gives cause for rumination and consideration as we delve into the power and the future. Thank you very much for joining us virtually today.
CJO: Thank you for having me.
OAE: The dialogue continues as we explore facts, thoughts, and intentions about the cloud’s future. Feel free to express your thoughts in the comments section below. If you are an IT professional in the cloud computing sphere with credible information about cloud computing’s power and future, feel free to Contact Us for a possible interview, all things being equal.