Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Do we worship information these days? Are server farms our new Delphi temples?

Server farms, I suspect, are our modern Delphis. Hidden away, accessible only to initiates. Essential to the way we live yet unavailable to most mere mortals.

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-9-48-29-am
screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-9-48-29-am

 

We live these days in the early Information Age. As part of that, I think we increasingly worship data. We depend on it to define our lives. Some of us are lost without continuous input from the data flow.

As with all religions, there are physical manifestations of our faith. Cell phone towers are our modern steeples or minarets, literally connecting us to the deity. Apple’s flagship stores (I’ve seen the ones in New York and Barcelona) are temples of information. In them the god is not visible but feels immanent.

 

We live these days in the early Information Age. As part of that, I think we increasingly worship data. We depend on it to define our lives. Some of us are lost without continuous input from the data flow.

As with all religions, there are physical manifestations of our faith. Cell phone towers are our modern steeples or minarets, literally connecting us to the deity. Apple’s flagship stores (I’ve seen the ones in New York and Barcelona) are temples of information. In them the god is not visible but feels immanent.

Server farms, I suspect, are our modern Delphis. Hidden away, accessible only to initiates. Essential to the way we live yet unavailable to most mere mortals.

Photo Credit: NSA

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.