Taking charge of your IT

CIO (and slashdot) reports on the new trend where users take charge of their IT needs. I’m one of these pesky users. I have my own server (daniel-lemire.com) complete with wikis, blogs, version control and so on. I use google mail for my email. I manage my own computers.

This is not limited to IT, by the way. I also bypass almost entirely my school’s library. I use Google Scholar. All UQAM gives me is access to documents through a proxy.

This trend is not really new. Back 30 years ago, secretaries would type scientific papers. Today, you have to be a pretty rich researcher to have a secretary who types your papers and technical reports. (Admittedly, I’m more than happy to delegate some of my funding applications.)

Computers are about giving users more control, not less. We shall delegate less to human beings in the future, not more. But we will grow more dependent on computers. Let us hope they do not become evil!

This does not mean that we will all be out of a job in the near future. But if you do a lot of routine labor, and managing a server is routine labor, then plan on getting a better job. Either your job will get outsourced, or servers will get smarter.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

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