The internet over the past decade has enveloped our lives; there has been an extreme increase in the amount of data transferred between humans. This data is intrinsically immaterial but requires the material for it to exist in the first place, thus giving it a metaphysical existence. Data farms are the physical manifestation of this metaphysical nature of data. Put simply, data farms are large warehouses with aesthetic properties similar to the prototypical warehouse for shoes or other merchandise. It almost goes without saying that the internet contains a seemingly indefinite amount of data. Understanding data farms requires the conceptual considerations of both their physical and metaphysical nature.
Data centers are used for a variety of different interchanges and have been put forth by numerous high tech companies throughout many parts of the world. Bridging the gap between the physical and metaphysical is what is known as cloud computing. This term transcends both data centers and the information contained within their walls. In other words cloud computing is a way of thinking about the connection between two physical devices, one being the data center itself and two, your device i.e. the point of access. In other words cloud computing is the storing and accessing of data and programs over the internet rather than locally on your own hard drive, this means there is a spatial disconnect between the user and their data. This notion allows one to access and share their data anywhere there is an internet connection; this power however, is a double edged sword. While allowing the user an unprecedented ease of access, privacy becomes of major concern. Storing data on a physical device you do not inherently control leaves said data and its security in the hands of the data center provider. Cloud based data becomes at risk for theft (such as credit card and identity), spying (often by government entities), selling and packaging of data as a commodity for other companies to use, and borderline illegitimate uses such as ad-targeting.
As stated prior there is a dichotomy to the concept of data farms, the previously discussed metaphysical nature of the data associated with the farms and the physical storage space, the actual building. The physical space requirements by data centers are immense. Due to this, they are constructed away from major cities, this leads directly to improper and excessive land use. The societal concerns associated with data farms do not stop there however. Data farms require an immense amount of energy and water to properly function, even while companies strive to curb said use.
With the technological advances of our society, data centers developed as a means to store and share our information exceedingly quicker. Due to this, globalization has been placed at the center of societal concerns and governmental policy. The effects of globalization and quick communication have not been fully understood, thus leading to complications in both the physical and metaphysical system of data farm.