My latest piece for Current Intelligence looks at the trend of moving data centers and high capacity data connections to higher latitudes to take advantage of both cooler conditions, which saves energy, and opening sea lanes, which saves milliseconds in data transmission. The upside is cheaper infrastructure. The downside may be navigating difficult geopolitical waters. An excerpt:
"Arctic talk has been dominated by traditional geopolitics, with its focus on maritime defence, boundary delimitation and shipping interests, and potential access to previously untapped natural resources. But the issues are clearly more complex, ranging as widely as green power generation, labor costs and state surveillance of new data hubs. The push for faster, cheaper data storage and transmission may well run headlong into concerns about network governance and data privacy somewhere in the cold northern climes of the Arctic Circle. One can imagine Google one day soon choosing to exercise its patented data barges, sailing them into newly ice-free international waters in response to a perfect storm of regional demand and political tension."