Thursday, April 5, 2007

Digital Death

Writing about art and immortality in his book, Ancient Mesopotamia, Stephen Bertman writes:
We labor under an illusion if we assume our present age will be better remembered than antiquity. The average life expectancy of magnetic tapes, audio or video, is only 10 years; of optical disks, 5o; of archival quality microfilm, but a 100. In fact, average-quality CD-ROMs become unreadable or unreliable after only five years. Advances in technology, moreover, make older computer hardware and software obsolete; and as they grow obsolete, their data becomes unintelligible. Meanwhile, the film that recorded the images of the past is already crumbling; according to UNESCO, "three-quarters of the films which were made worldwide before 1950 have already disappeared." Thus our so-called Age of Information may be known to the future as an age of missing information.

1 comment:

George said...

What does Bertman know--he's the guy who caught that foul pop and ruined the Cubs' chances at the World Series a few years back.

Oh, that's Bartman. Good thing we have Wikipedia...but for how long?

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