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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

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Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

A.I Part I -A dark cloud over tech by Frank Millard

technology-3762546_1280 Artificial Intelligence

 Far from being located in the sky, cloud data centres are very large and earthbound with real effects on energy security

There are differing statistics on the amount of electricity drained by data centres globally, but it is substantial and as cloud expands to and within developing nations, it will increase. There were already around 3.6 billion global cloud users in 2018 according to Vision Computer Solutions. Furthermore, the German statistics office revealed that, in 2022, there were 7.2 million data centres worldwide.

Putting this in perspective, data centre electricity consumption is greater than used by some entire countries including South Africa.

A 2020 EU Commission report found that they accounted for 2.7% of the EU's total electricity demand and consumption is expected to reach 3.2% by 2030

Those states with a cloud first policy are likely to be most vulnerable to energy drain. According to an IEA report Ireland's data centres accounted for 14% of its total electricity use in 2021, three times what it was in 2015.

The need to upload more and more data has locked governments, departments and corporations into an increasingly expensive and potentially insecure system that puts a strain on energy supply and may have affected prices and dependence on gas.

Trojan Horse

Although innocuous and apparently indispensable, the cloud is a Trojan Horse with serious cost and security implications.

Leftronic reveals that about 60% of companies using cloud do so to store confidential data, which may be leakier than they imagine given possible access by the US authorities as a result of the Patriot and CLOUD Acts.

When Elon Musk took over Twitter, he said he was shocked to learn that the government had full access to private communications on the platform, including direct messages.

In 2011 ZNET reported that Gordon Frazer, Microsoft UK MD, had admitted that cloud data, outside of the USA, is not protected against the Patriot Act. Since then, the CLOUD Act has enabled US authorities to compel its tech companies to provide data wherever it is stored in the world.

This is arguably part of what is described as the digital colonialism of the United States, through US tech companies, which affords it a far greater global influence and authority than its conventional industry-based economy would otherwise allow and beyond its real-world military reach.

Originating with American sociologist Herbert Schiller, digital colonialism refers to the dominance of technically developed nations, especially the USA, through ownership of the digital infrastructure and data services used globally and increasing daily through adoption of AI, IoT and cloud.

Typically, digital colonialism has been applied to its influence over the 'global south' but developed nations are just as susceptible, hence a move towards 'data sovereignty' among user nations to protect and repatriate data through regulation, hybridization and alternative offerings.

The cloud may be living up to its name soon, though. In 2022 Thales Alenia Space was chosen by the European Commission to lead the ASCEND (Advanced Space Cloud for European Net zero emission and Data sovereignty) feasibility study in putting data centres into space 

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