This is strikingly true. I know in my house most of our photos are kept on disk. Perhaps it is time to start printing them out. Then there is my 600 vinyl albums…that I have been promising myself to digitize. At least they will still exist in 400 years even if the means to play them will be gone.
If the geometric proliferation of media formats remains a constant, the in a mere 10-20 years most of the storage formats we now use will be so obscure that much data will be lost. I’ve been thinking for years that we may be entering a peculiar kind of fugitive age, not really a dark age, where information will continue to be available, but very erratically.
For example, nearly all personal documents such as photos and personal/business correspondence will be lost in a very short time frame. They will be stowed in attics and garages in much the same manner as any kind of former documents, but we’ll have few means to easily access them. Eventually most will be discarded.
More generalized data will probably persist however. In a strange way, although the reasons for each are different, this loss of private assets mirrors the loss of privacy itself. Future generations will not really know what it’s like to happen across a box or drawer full of long hidden family documents or photographs. Lacking the means to translate ancient private media, the past will seem far more ephemeral than ever before. This will probably have huge consequences for society. Pajamas Media » What Will Your Next Computer Be Able to Do?