Pop culture is giving the cloud a bad rap

Posted by Ron Miller on Jun 16, 2015 11:27:08 AM

The cloud has been showing in popular culture for some time now, but it's usually cast as the villain to be feared instead of a hero saving the day.

Probably the first time it began to seep into the public consciousness was the infamous Microsoft Windows 7 "To The Cloud" commercials.

People knew the cloud was something from these commercials, but they simply had no idea what the heck Microsoft was talking about. My favorite story about this happened just about the time these cloud commercials were airing and my 80-something father introduced me to his neighbor. Upon hearing I was a technology journalist, his first question was, "What the heck is the cloud anyway."

He knew it was something, but he couldn't figure out what it was or what it meant.

Later we had the infamous Sex Tape movie with Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz. The plot of this film (and I use the term loosely) involved a couple who made a video of themselves having sex, and it somehow escaped to "the cloud" where it then mysteriously went viral. This is what we're dealing with people. 

Last night I watched a show in which the murderer was caught after using her iPad to kill her victim. In a somewhat convoluted plot twist, the iPad started recording during the murder and (you guessed it), the video was transmitted to the cloud where the investigative team found it.

Why is the cloud getting a bad rap in movies and TV?

What these examples show is that mainstream culture has very little understanding of what the cloud is, and so we make up these cloud horror stories to explain what we don't understand. If you don't get it, some pretty terrible things can happen like your sex video getting shared on the Internet or getting caught offing your boyfriend. Pretty horrible stuff.

If you look it in the simplest terms, the cloud simply gives us a way to access our stuff wherever we happen to be on whatever device we happen to be using, as this 'To The Cloud' commercial at the airport clearly illustrates. 

See life is good when we can get our content anywhere. Microsoft's 2011 vision of the cloud was being able to access your PC at home from the airport so you can watch "Celebrity Probation" (which actually sounds like a pretty good idea for a reality TV show). Maybe they didn't quite get it, but at least they got the general gist.

The point is Hollywood doesn't get the cloud, and it's not clear why. Maybe it's because Hollywood has always had a hard time with technology and incorporating it into movie and TV scripts. Plus, it's a lot more fun to look at the cloud as a disaster waiting to happen, rather than actually saving you from disaster.

In reality, the cloud is Superman swooping in to save your sorry butt when you've forgotten your presentation. It lets you see your notes and drafts when you are on the road or waiting for a train. It means you can access your email regardless of where you are or what device you're using because it's not stuck on a hard drive or on your company's Exchange server. All of this is a good thing.

But it doesn't make for good theater, so we come up with these horror stories instead. Maybe some day the cloud will get a starring role as the hero, but for now Hollywood seems intent on casting it as the villain.

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Topics: Cloud Trends

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