I hate the expression “The Cloud” because like “God” is stops people from understanding what they are actually doing or thinking.
When I save digital documents on my Apple iCloud account, they are stored on one (or more) of Apple’s servers. Similarly, Drop Box and Google offer me free storage on their servers. And apparently any documents I store there are also then in “The Cloud”. And before the term “The Cloud” came out, I stored my posts on WordPress servers. But now shouldn’t we consider them in “The Cloud” too. All of that storage space is on privately owned servers (a type of computer). I even pay a yearly fee to rent server space from DreamHost to store some websites I manage for private organizations. Well, are they now in “The Cloud” too?
All that storage is on servers that live in real buildings, owned by real people. That storage does not float out in a mystical fuzzy space. Drop Box, Google, WordPress, DreamHost and Apple do not exist in the same “Cloud”. In fact, there is no “Cloud” — it is merely an abstract word which, tricks people into thinking it is substantial; that it is one singular, concrete thing. Arggh!
“God” is very similar, but to get believers to see behind that curtain is tough. Heck, it is often equally tough to get educated unbelievers to see behind “The Cloud”. The common obstacles to getting folks to see behind “The Cloud” are that they:
- never used the Cloud
- have used the Cloud, but don’t know they’ve used it
- don’t care about the Cloud or those sort of issues
- care a little to hear but don’t understand enough about the internet to understand
Question to readers: This post is not about “the Cloud”. It is about a cognitive illusion that is shared in both religious and secular thinking. Tell me in the comments why you imagine I see “The Cloud” phenomena similar to “God” phenomena — and please do share disagreements too.