So while mad scientists are busy making digital salvation possible, what can us mere mortals do to enable our digital footprint to outlive us? Well, in this lifetime I believe that people are going to start offering services that allow us to bundle up and archive our digital self.
If we think of that footprint as the total of all our online transactions (posts, comments, photos, videos, etc.) , then bundling up all the assets would provide a view of a person’s digital life.
Of course this issue is clouded by the very idea of ownership. Who owns a comment? Who owns the blog. For that matter, who really owns your Facebook or Flickr profile? You? Or the site? But regardless, the content is there. It’s accessible. It’s store-able.
The only question to consider is why?
We are at the beginning of a new age. Data storage gets cheaper by the day. It enables us to store incredible amounts of data. It is quite possible that whatever makes the leap to digital has a chance of remaining until the end of time.
I’ve started wondering about all this too. So much of the documentation of who I am is electronic. In the past that just blew away except for letters and journals left behind.
And what happens with the JPG file format is a dead language people don’t know anymore. Like JCL. Or Algol. Or PL1.
Hmmmm, should I setup a computer dedicated to preserving my Life, my family’s? Every photo scanned, every letter written (already many of those in original MacWrite format are no longer openable). Every blog post, every silly video or home video. And store it on what? HD? DVD? Blu-ray? I guess Linux stands the best chance of being an OS that will be around in 50 years. But 100? Seriously? No way.
You could get rich off this digital death thing. Easy.
Yep, but even the “Lifestroke” computer and the file formats would obsolesce. I think the only choice is to figure out a universal language and scribe everything onto stone tablets using it. That should keep someone busy for a few days. ^_^
• Ever read “The Code Book-The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography” (S. Singh)? Much of it is about codes, but there’s an interesting part in the middle about cracking the secret of ancient “lost” languages, and the similarities/differences to code breaking. When you consider how little some civilizations have left of their writings, and that the context of the writing is often obscure, it’s a wonder that anything was derived. Possibly, by looking at what they have had to do, you can at least also try to leave broad clues, in case their is a hiccup in this process of saving our digital souls (i.e., fall back plan 😛 )
• Also, I’d like a graph. Yes, it’s okay to make one on a paper napkin. I’d like to see, for today, just what sort of storage you’d be talking about if you were to digitize your own life (one person…) and could somehow magically do it in one day. So, music, videos, scans of xrays, family photos, maybe PDFs of all your word processed docs, copies of games you’ve played, with logs of what you did, archives of your blogs, etc etc etc. Okay, so that’s ONE guy, one data point for today. What would that figure be in a year, for you (presumably larger, as a society we’re not just saving everything, we’re saving it in Higher Resolution!! and yes file formats can compress, but we really want to keep as much good data as we can). Now think about all the people in the world. And 50 years from now. That’s why I want the graph. I just want some sense here of the scope of this.
🙂 very cool topic