With the recent release of Apple’s iCloud, it seems cloud computing is here to stay. If you’re a little behind (which is better than being a huge ass), cloud computing is simply a way of saving files to the web, instead of to your hard drive.
The idea here is redundancy. If the data is stored on one hard drive and that hard drive breaks, your data is lost. If it’s stored on 5 hard drives in the same house, and there’s a fire, your data is lost. With the cloud, your data is stored on several drives in all different locations, which allows you to access it via the web whenever you want, without running the risk of crashed drives losing your data.
This same concept is what the human species needs in order to survive. Being on Earth is like storing all of your information on a single drive. It doesn’t matter how much we archive elements of our culture, or the lexicon of knowledge we’ve accumulated over time. If a meteor, or a gamma ray were to strike the planet tomorrow, it would all be lost without a trace for a future species to discover.
The only way to avoid such a catastrophe would be to spread out to other planets, and ideally, other solar systems. Currently, there are plans in place to terraform Mars (make it Earth-like, so humans could someday move there). If humans can inhabit two planets, then the sudden destruction of one wouldn’t mean the end of human history. The more spread out our species becomes throughout the universe, the safer our species becomes.
Just another example of how humans and computers mimic and learn from each other in order to survive.