They're missing the point. The real impact of "the cloud" has yet to appear.
We're starting to see snatches of that future in things like this, IBM and ETH Zurich using clouds to to analyze disease-causing proteins and, hopefully, fight bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotics. It's one of the great "oh noes" that has the doom-and-gloom crowd expecting the destruction of civilization at any moment, the idea being that flesh-eating bacteria are going to get all of us and there's nothing we can do about it.
Well, now there is. Clouds let you set up immense jobs and run them in real time, combining two great breakthroughs of the last decade -- distributed computing and virtualization. What it means is that asking the question in the right way is the whole of experimental design, that the answers to big questions arrive faster.
In addition to handling big questions, clouds also can handle huge data sets efficiently. Not all the implications of this are good -- people don't like their lives being an open book to the police. What must be controlled are what police agencies do with this new power. We need to trust that there are relatively few terrorists and big drug runners out there, compared with the general population. And you know what? There are.
Each evolution in computing lets us solve new problems. It accelerates changes in all directions. Mainframes, minicomputers, PCs, LANs, and the Internet didn't just change society, but the process of discovery, in meaningful ways. Now new breakthroughs are possible -- they'll come faster than ever -- and the technologies resulting from use of the cloud will amaze you.
It sort of reminds me of the ending of the third "Back to the Future" movie. To get a locomotive going 88 miles per hour, different explosive charges were used, each more powerful than the other, to achieve what was technically an impossible acceleration. And at the end, of course, the car being pushed exploded out into the far-off future, while the locomotive itself crashed into the gorge.
We're all in the car.