The “Human Cloud” and the Future of Work

One thing we write about a lot at GigaOM — and particularly on our Web Worker Daily collaboration blog — is the future of work. It’s not just about the tools like Skype and Jive Software and Yammer and Rypple that try to make personal interaction easier online, although it is partly about that. It’s also about how working in new and different ways changes our lives, for better and for worse, and how the entire nature of what we call work is evolving and blurring online.

The biggest change, for both workers and companies, is a move toward what we call “the human cloud.” In the same way that high-speed Internet access disrupted the corporate IT market, creating a “cloud” of web-enabled infrastructure, the human cloud is shorthand for how the web has disrupted the way we work. Companies rely on dispersed teams to get the best talent available regardless of location (or price) and many are using crowdsourcing and other innovative means to achieve their goals.

Meanwhile, many people who work in this new cloud have lives that look nothing like they would have even10 years ago: they may have contracts with a variety of clients, outsource themselves and their skills through a third-party service like Elance or ODesk or collaborate with coworkers in opposing time zones. The companies they work for, and with, may not even know what they look like, or where they live. This is the reality of the human cloud and it is changing us (and the companies we work for) in ways we may not fully realize yet.

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Regcure

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