greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,
greygirlbeast
greygirlbeast

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Data Loss

It's easy to imagine some of the questions that scholars* might want to ask when they look back on the story of our times. When did the last ice sheets melt away? At what point did the oceans finish acidifying? How rapidly were national boundaries reshuffled in response to sea-level rise? Some of these questions will be answered by written documents, but not necessarily as many as we might think.

Much of today's recorded history will eventually be lost simply because so many of its documents are electronic. The devices and codes that create and decipher them change so often in the interest of big business that they become useless within decades or less. Not to mention centuries. The effects of this are already apparent in my own home. I'm still saving some old-fashioned floppy disks that used to feed data into my TRS-80 computer back in the 1980s even though I'll never be able to read them again.


from Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth by Curt Stager

* Assuming there are any remaining.
Tags: computer stuff, global warming
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