A Cloud for 8 billion 

As the global population hits eight billion today, we are faced with a profoundly serious question: how to deal with a rapidly growing global community, and can cloud technology offer a solution? 

Adam Kotecki is the CEO of Cloudica, a cloud-solutions provider and consultancy firm based in the EU. 

“Rapid population growth is at the center of many of the world’s pressing environmental, economic and security problems.” 

MALCOLM POTTS, HUMAN REPRODUCTIVE SCIENTIST 

Today we mark “8 billion day” when the world’s population hit that magic number. It seems like only recently that the seven-billion mark made headlines. (It was actually 11 years ago.) And as the world’s resources are being quickly depleted, I wonder how the technology sector can have a positive impact on the way things develop from here. 

We the world… are growing 

Every now and then, the UN makes an educated guess about global population growth and marks the day when the number of humans increases by one billion. Today, Tuesday, November 15, 2022, sees the birth of the eighth billionth baby. Of course, this is not a very precise science, but the best data gathered by global institutions shows that the world’s population is growing at an alarming rate. 

“This year’s World Population Day falls during a milestone year, when we anticipate the birth of the Earth’s eight billionth inhabitant,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres was quoted as saying in a press release. “This is an occasion to celebrate our diversity, recognize our common humanity, and marvel at advancements in health that have extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates.” 

This is truly a moment for celebration. But as we read news about limited resources like fossil fuels, foods, and medicines; a lack of adequate living conditions in many parts of the world; and spiraling costs of living, I start to wonder.  

I cannot stop babies from being born, but can I somehow aid in the response to these events? 

The UN, the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, and the IIASA-Wittgenstein Centre in Vienna are the three primary organizations that provide forecasts on world population, and their expectations for educational advancement differ. 

The UN predicts a peak in world population of 10.4 billion people in the 2080s, however, the other two centers predict the population to hit that mark between 2060 and 2070. After that magic number is hit, experts agree that the figures will plateau at first before starting to drop slowly. 

Cloud to the rescue 

I am not suggesting that technology is the only thing that will help us manage the strain on our already low resources, but I think that as cloud technologies take a stronger hold on global affairs, things can move smoother and easier. 

Let us look at some ways cloud solutions can help lighten the load on our planet. 

Energy consumption 

According to a six-month study by Northwestern University and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which was funded by Google, moving the common software applications used by 86 million American workers to the cloud would result in an energy use reduction of 87%, enough to power Los Angeles for a year. This would be a massive drop, and the trend indicates that we are on the right path. 

Because Cloud computing processes all requests on an “on-demand basis”, instead of being always on, as was the case with more traditional server systems, they: 

  • Require less Hardware 
  • Create less waste 
  • Provide high-density storage 
  • Consolidated demand 
  • Efficiently use Resources 

Education 

Higher education globally has been proven to have set the brakes on the rapid increase in population growth that we have seen over the last decade.  

New jobs and education possibilities offered by cloud computing – such as remote learning, online schooling, and work-from-home careers – provide possibilities for people around the world to develop. The technologies themselves are also an extremely popular career path for people around the world to grow and develop. 

Logistics 

The last couple of years have been a nightmare for supply chains globally. The computer chip shortage has caused havoc in areas of life that we had not even imagined before. The grain market has been disrupted by conflict and other financial issues. Meanwhile, people are dying of hunger in all four corners of the world. 

The possibilities offered by cloud computing can be lifesaving for millions of people because transport systems can be made more efficient if they are working together in a unified, and efficient way. I have seen with my own eyes the possibilities offered by solutions such as Microsoft Azure within several sectors, and honestly believe that cloud technology on a truly global scale can eliminate many of the bottlenecks we have around the world today. 

Healthcare 

This is a sector which I have some experience in, having helped healthcare companies streamline their operations through the solutions we offer. 

In his statement today, the UN’s Guterres talks about “extended lifespans and dramatically reduced maternal and child mortality rates”. This is all true. But over the past decade, computing has taken a role in medicine that was previously the realm of science fiction. 

Thanks to cloud data solutions:  

  • Statisticians can better analyze healthcare trends and react to them 
  • Doctors can operate on patients on the other side of the planet  
  • Physicians can diagnose illnesses in people who never risked the health of others and stayed at home 
  • Authorities can better monitor drug usage to prevent crises of overmedication and abuse 

Conclusion 

I think that while we have only started scratching the surface, computer solutions on a truly global scale will be a lifeline for a limited world as global populations remain on a growing trendline. I look forward to seeing how the industry develops and cloud solutions continue solving problems we cannot even imagine. 

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