Vint Cerf's 'Digital Dark Age' Vs. George Orwell's
Vint Cerf expressed his concern that a "digital Dark Age" could result from the widespread use of computer memory to store photographs and other important documents.
Our life, our memories, our most cherished family photographs increasingly exist as bits of information - on our hard drives or in "the cloud". But as technology moves on, they risk being lost in the wake of an accelerating digital revolution.
"I worry a great deal about that," Mr Cerf told me. "You and I are experiencing things like this. Old formats of documents that we've created or presentations may not be readable by the latest version of the software because backwards compatibility is not always guaranteed.
"And so what can happen over time is that even if we accumulate vast archives of digital content, we may not actually know what it is."
Vint Cerf is promoting an idea to preserve every piece of software and hardware so that it never becomes obsolete - just like what happens in a museum - but in digital form, in servers in the cloud...
"The solution is to take an X-ray snapshot of the content and the application and the operating system together, with a description of the machine that it runs on, and preserve that for long periods of time. And that digital snapshot will recreate the past in the future."
Science fiction writers have explored different views on this problem. In his 1984 novel Heretics of Dune, Frank Herbert gave us a peek into the House Records of the Bene Gesserit, an organization with archives that spanned thousands of years of human activity.
The holoprojector flickered with its continuing production above the table top - more bits and pieces that she had summoned.
Taraza rather distrusted Archivists, which she knew was an ambivalent attitude because she recognized the underlying necessity for data. But Chapter House Records could only be viewed as a jungle of of abbreviations, special notations, coded insertions, and footnotes. Such material often required a Mentat for translation or, what was worse in times of extreme fatigue demanded that she delve into Other Memories. ...You could never consult Archival Records in a straightforward manner.
(Read more about Herbert's Bene Gesserit House records)
George Orwell, on the other hand. described another aspect of the same problem, which is that technology (like the speakwrite and the memory hole) will make it increasingly easy to manipulate our stored memory of pictures and text, and thereby the events that they describe:
The largest section of the Records Department, far larger than the one on which Winston worked, consisted simply of persons whose duty it was to track down and collect all copies of books, newspapers, and other documents which had been superseded and were due for destruction. A number of ‘The Times’ which might, because of changes in political alignment, or mistaken prophecies uttered by Big Brother, have been rewritten a dozen times still stood on the files bearing its original date, and no other copy existed to contradict it. Books, also, were recalled and rewritten again and again, and were invariably reissued without any admission that any alteration had been made. Even the written instructions which Winston received, and which he invariably got rid of as soon as he had dealt with them, never stated or implied that an act of forgery was to be committed: always the reference was to slips, errors, misprints, or misquotations which it was necessary to put right in the interests of accuracy.
(Read about Orwell rewriting history)
So, do you think we're going to live in Cerf's "digital Dark Age", a "Google Golden Age" or maybe George Orwell's nightmare?
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/12/2015)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
The Largest Virtual Universe!
'...a machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself .' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.
ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...' - William Gibson, 1984.
Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...' - Daniel Suarez, 2009.
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Desktopography Makes Virtual Desktops Real
'Ender doodled on his desk, drawing contour maps of mountainous islands and then telling his desk to display them in three dimensions...'
LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!
Moon Express Lunar Robot Mining: Shine On, Harvest Moon
'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... '
Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton
'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'
Hyperloop One Video Shows It Works!
'Complete evacuation of the interior of the tubes [and] a wave that provides the new propulsive energy for the cars...'
Chairless Chair Exoskeleton By Sapetti
'Earth's scientists... devised rigid metallic clothing...'
Publishing Technologies In Science Fiction
Well, this should be enough references to start...
Russia Working On Military Exoskeletons
'Вы похожи на большую стальную гориллу...'
3D Printed Bionic Chinese Skin
Your skin is ready!
Flexup Tire Design Good For Tumblebugs
'Each spoke telescopes into five sections.'
3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...'
Asteroid Deflection With DART
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'
Translate One2One From IBM's Watson Your Communication Solution
'It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix...'
News Now Philip K. Dick's Bailiwick
'A vast complex electronic organism... responsible to no one...'
Autonomous BADGER Robot Drilling Machine
'The compacted matter... makes a better tunnel lining than concrete, don't you think?'
TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories