Bit Rot: Will our data be left behind?
With technology consistently moving forward and programs becoming obsolete, Google’s vice-president Vint Cerf, has warned that ‘humanity’s first steps into the digital world could be lost to future historians’.
Warning participants at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting, Vint said that we are we could be facing a forgotten generation, through bit rot, where old computer files become useless and cannot be accessed, often through technology moving forward.
He continued to say: “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,” he said.
“We don’t want our digital lives to fade away. If we want to preserve them, we need to make sure that the digital objects we create today can still be rendered far into the future,” he added.
We cannot guarantee than anything that we post online will be available in the upcoming years, highlighting the irony at the heart of modern technology, in a world where we upload data to the Cloud to ensure its long-term survival. How would you feel if all of your images were inaccessible in five years? This is what our generation faces unless companies research into file preservation.
If this is not managed now, in 100 years who knows what information (if any) will be available about our generation.