Saturday, April 17, 2010

Information technology: circa 400 BC

I did not live at the same time as they did, nor have I in person heard their voices or seen their faces. Yet I know it because of what is written on the bamboo and silk that has been handed down to posterity, what is engraved on metal and stone, and what is inscribed on bowls and basins.
--From The Mozi--

People pick and choose among iPads and Kindles, iPods and Zunes to store and view their media, but they rarely think about permanence when making these decisions. Will their grandchildren go through their old files, like they might old books or magazines? Chances are, the devices will be useless blocks by then; the information stored on them lost because of mechanical failure, or unable to be transferred due to DRM restrictions.

I know the thoughts someone who lived over 2,000 years ago, but this thought I'm expressing in this sentence, will probably be unavailable to anyone in twenty years. It certainly doesn't deserve preservation, but I have to wonder about the things that do. Will they vanish in the same way?


JAL said...

Similar thoughts -- though not as well articulated -- cross my mind with some regularity.

Should I print out the emails and put them in a book? What of my now grown children's funny quips, links to websites and youtube ... ahhh..... . .. . Youtube!

If it weren't for our technology today we wouldn't be able to search youtube and find old movies and clips. So that is good ....

But we don't write letters anymore -- we tweet (I don't). But now we find that the Library of Congress is saving everyone's tweets.

Oh my word ... will the Future judge us by our tweets!? What a horrible thought.

So yes, the posterity of print whether in stone or paper seems to trump my now dead floppies.

Jason (the commenter) said...

It might be funny if the only documentation the future had of our times was a few blogs which managed to be preserved. They'd only know about our press from the short excerpts bloggers were able to use, and The New York Times would be known as a lost work that Cindy the Bimbo (or whoever) quoted a few times.

Trooper York said...

Hey I am copying my blog posts on cave walls in France. Just sayn'

ricpic said...

Hey Jason, Troop alerted me (and everyone else) to your blog but when I came here I thought part of your blog was Wot I Made And Ate (or something like that) so I left a comment there and then realized that that's Chip Ahoy's blog or site so if you want to go there and read my comment about Chip's very nice apartment which I thought was your apartment please feel free. This is the kind of drivel (I mean my comment not your blog which is also mainly drivel but not as much as my comment) that should be saved for posterity?!