Despite being fashionable and many people refer to it, only a few seem to know what the "cloud" really is. A recent study by Wakefield Research for Citrix, shows that there is a huge difference between what U.S. citizens do and what they say when it comes to cloud computing. The survey of more than 1,000 American adults was conducted in August 2012 and showed that few average Americans know what cloud computing is.
For example, when asked what "the cloud" is, a majority responded it's either an actual cloud, the sky or something related to the weather (29%). 51 percent of respondents, believe stormy weather can interfere with cloud computing and only 16% were able to link the term with the notion of a computer network to store, access and share data from Internet-connected devices. Besides, 54% of respondents claimed to have never used a cloud when in fact 95% of those who said so are actually using cloud services today via online shopping, banking, social networking and file sharing.
What these results suggest is that the cloud is indeed transparent to users, fulfilling one of its main functions, which is provide content and services easily and immediately. However, the lack of knowledge about the computing model that supports all of our everyday activities, leads to a growing disengagement with the consequent deterioration of the security concerns of content and privacy.
In reality, cyberspace is not an aseptic place filled only with accurate and useful information. The great interest of cyberspace lies precisely in that it allows for social vitality, based on a growing range of multimedia services. Its fascination comes from acting as a booster technology for the proliferation of all forms of sociability, being a connectivity instrument. Therefore, cyberspace is not a purely cybernetic thing, but a living, chaotic, and uncontrolled entity.
Beyond these concerns, others equally serious are emerging. By analyzing our daily use of these new technological tools, we conclude that the growth of the Internet is suffocating the planet. We have to face the CO2 emissions produced by our online activities as internal costs to the planet.
We can start by showing some awareness of the problem, restricting our uploads and even removing some. Why not? What about reducing our photos on Facebook and Instagram? Keeping them permanently available consumes energy! If no one cares about our videos on YouTube, why not delete them? At least keep them where they do not need to be consuming energy.
We still have to go further and think that if awareness and self-discipline are not enough, we must consider the possibility of a cost for the sharing of large volumes of personal information. It is perhaps the only way to get most people to stop making unconscious use of the cloud, clogging it by dumping huge amounts of useless information into cyberspace. The goal is not to limit the access to information, this should always be open access, but rather give it a proper and conscientious use.