All Hail the Mighty Cloud! Building Our Tech Industry on Buzzwords

English: Cloud

Image via Wikipedia

This week EMC launched their cloud4gov initiative, along with the government, and other industry partners.  The Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte made a nice speech.

I was talking tech on Raidio na Gaeltachta the next day when the interviewer asked me whether these kinds of announcements could ever deliver what they seem to promise.  And in that instant, I realised what it is that all this cloud talk reminds me of.

During the Second World War, American airbases were located on strategic islands in the Pacific Ocean, bringing activity and prosperity to what had been very traditional communities.  After the war, many of these bases were decommissioned, and with them went the prosperity which locals had become accustomed to.

Lacking an understanding of international air transport, some communities attempted to achieve the return of “cargo” by reenacting of what they perceived to be the rituals surrounding it: building mock runways and even control towers in the hope that the “cargo gods” would send planes once more.  These became known as cargo cults.

If we think we’re superior in Ireland, we are not.  Where I live, we were pacified for decades as politicians of all parties chanted the mantra: “Shannon Stopover”.  Today that airport is an example of what happens when you pray for planes to land instead of giving them a reason to.

I hope it’s not the same with cloud computing.

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