Nothing lasts forever, according to Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, and ‘Father of the Internet.’ Yes, that means your Instagram selfies, Twitter feed and email accounts could disappear one day. Sounds like Ridley Scott has his next movie planned.
His warning is actually good news for the scrapbookers out there. You know those books filled with pictures printed on paper. Killing trees for posterity.
Cert’s warning came at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in San Jose. He told the group we face a ‘forgotten generation’ or at worse, ‘a forgotten century.’ No offense, but some of those selfies should be cease to exist.
According to the Guardian, Cerf laid out the possible dystopian future. “When you think about the quantity of documentation from our daily lives that is captured in digital form, like our interactions by email, people’s tweets, and all of the World Wide Web, it’s clear that we stand to lose an awful lot of our history.”
Before you scoff at the possibility, remember the news earlier this week of a Facebook exploit. A security researcher discovered a glitch to delete any public photo from from Facebook. Thankfully, the researcher preferred the bug bounty over causing millions of Facebook users to cower in fear.
We live in a digital world. Everyone has a smartphone, a tablet and a laptop. Storage? It’s with services like iCloud, Box and Dropbox. Hard drives are losing their importance. Much like the floppy disks of old.
So, we have the fear issued. How about a solution? Luckily, Vint Cerf doesn’t borrow from cable news. He actually has an idea on how to fix the problem.
Talking to BBC News, he gave the community a possible fix. “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.”
Or, we could see the rise of startups going old school. Printing out reams of data and scrapbooks for the ultimate backup. Plus, having a coffee table book of your moments is more entertaining than passing around your phone.
It’s an interesting question to ponder. We are used to our data just being there. What if we wake up one day and it’s not? We have a seed vault. Maybe it’s time for a knowledge vault.