Taking “Cloud Computing” Too Literally

Taking “Cloud Computing” Too Literally: Hilarious Comments by Indian Anti-Graft Crusader

Cloud computing is a serious issue, and with nanotechnology and biotechnology, promise to transform human civilization over the next few decades. However, even when discussing such serious business, we occasionally come across moments of hilarity that grab our attention. Regular readers of this website may remember my earlier attempt at humor writing on the occasion of All Fool’s Day (April 1) (See: Cloud Computing Without The Internet – Is It Possible?); however, what I am about to narrate today is not a figment of my imagination but all true.

A little background to the matter: for the last few months, India has been agog with civil discontent about the increasing graft in government machinery. From civil services to law enforcement, the creeping hand of corruption has affected every segment of official administration, and now, the common citizen has decided to strike back. This has resulted in nationwide protests under the leadership of Gandhian leader Anna Hazare for a strong anticorruption legislation. Several notable leaders have joined the agitation, including former Income Tax Additional Commissioner Vishwa Bandhu Gupta. It is Mr. Gupta who had offered some valuable nuggets about cloud computing in an interview on a TV channel that has gone viral on the Internet.

Mr. Gupta has taken the name of “cloud” computing too literally, believing that data actually resides in the clouds that bring rain and can be adversely affected when precipitation occurs. He expressed his concern about how this can cause problems with the UID (Universal Identification Number, similar to Social Security Number in the US) that the Indian government is planning to introduce soon. “Today the entire technical system, Google, is cloud based… But there is no study on what happens in a storm… cloud formatting will go wrong,” he said.

After his comments were greeted with widespread incredulity and derision, Mr. Gupta tried to do some damage control by asserting he had been misinterpreted; what he was actually trying to talk about was the practice of “cloud seeding” or creating artificial rain. However, this defense sounds hollow when you look at the subtitled video, easily available on YouTube

However, cloud computing is not the only technology Mr. Gupta has got wrong; he had some very imaginative misconceptions about cell phones as well. “In America, no one sells their old mobile phones… because while you think that all the data is in the SIM card, actually the data gets transferred from the SIM to the battery. Therefore, if you sell your old phone, you are also giving away all your secret data.”

While Mr. Gupta may represent the extreme end of the spectrum of people ignorant about cloud computing, there’s no denying the fact that many have, at best, incomplete knowledge about the technology. Even among businesses, the level of understanding is not very high, as I had discussed in an earlier article (See: Do You Know What Cloud Computing Is? ). Therefore, public education is the need of the day.

By Sourya Biswas

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