Digital decay must be prevented

Digital decay must be prevented by Richard Shu

Google Vice President Vint Cerf issued a grave warning on Wednesday to a world reliant on digital communication — our online legacy is at risk of decaying. Technological advancement means that digitally produced data, photos, emails and tweets may become completely unreadable within a century because software moves so fast, and the ability to open older file-types is lost. Cerf’s advice to those fearing the worst is simple — print out the documents and photos that are most important. However, the smaller-scale preservation Cerf advocates may not be enough to preserve the reams of data that Internet users produce every day — 2.5 million terabytes worth.

Users now share thoughts and feelings with the click of a button, all while trumpeting the rise of the technology as the catalyst for revolutions. But this unprecedented change comes at the price of our past.

Before we know it, vacation selfies and family photos could be lost. Every change in technology has the potential to bring us closer to a unified society. What a shame it would be, then, if such a society had no memory of its past.

Source: New York News

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