Saturday, March 28, 2009


This sounds pretty compelling and scary:

After rocks, the human race moved on to writing on animal skins and papyrus, which were faster at recording but didn't last nearly as long. Paper and printing presses were even faster, but also deteriorated more quickly. Starting to see a pattern? And now we have digital records, which might last a decade before becoming obsolete. Recording and handing down history thus becomes an increasingly daunting task, as each generation of media must be migrated to the next at a faster and faster rate, or we risk losing vital records

Until you ask yourself what on earth a trillion tweets and text messages are vital for.


Al said...

OMG NBD, chief. A trillion tweets? Instead of asking each other what we need that for, dude, especially since we both already know the answer, we should probably just wait a couple years and ask the Russian botnet. LOL AFAIK, we just did!

But with regard to the article I'd say that guy's been on autopilot since the days of DLT if not Betamax and I'd like to shred the epiphany he had upon visiting the big city for just a second. Although I share his fear of the impending tragic loss of the ASCII version of Deep Throat, I don't swallow the rest of his argument for a second. In order to believe that the task of preserving information is becoming progressively more difficult, one would also have to believe that Hitachi will be manufacturing the same size drives next year, drives that will run at the same speed, and that will also cost us the same amount in leaves as they do now. Either that or we'd have to believe the typical 13 year-old Egyptian was recording his every dim thought in hieroglyphs on a tiny sandstone wall he carried around in his oversized pocket, and at the same time overlook that in order to access this permanent molehill of geologically preserved pimple-talk we'll need a team of archeologists, a diesel excavator, the permission of some third-world government, and a dead-languages specialist. But yeah, it did take me a few minutes to download and install the Gmail POP client configurator the first time. What a pain in the ass.

Clark said...

Let me know if you hear back from the Russian botnet. Unfortunately, I expect that by the time conficker can back me up, it's not going to feel the need to bother with diesel excavators and permission from third-world governments. Maybe we can still get work as dead language specialists though.