Tuesday, February 9, 2010
TWO-FER TUESDAY BONUS EXTRA BLOG:
thinking about the future
Presumably if I drop dead while typing this sentence, all of my previous rants will still be available to be read by anyone who cares -- but for how long?
Will Google maintain the blogger.com memory for 10 years, 20 years, 50 years? What about a hundred years or a thousand years?
The "Wayback Machine" archives milions of web pages, but probably not for millions of years. How will 21st-century electronic texts be read in the 31st and 41st and 91st centuries?
The excitement over the iPad, Kindle, Nook and other eBook readers has caused a lot of tongue flapping about "the end of printed books." Some have predicted that paper books won't be printed after around 2020.
Apprently nobody is making 8-mm film projectors or 8-track tape players anymore. It seems unlikely that your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grand children will be able to buy a device to read a 2010-vintage eBook.
However, as long as human beings can read, they should be able to read today's printed books, and the Declaration of Independence, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the words on ancient Greek, Roman, Chinese and Japanese pottery, the heiroglyphs on walls of Egyptian pyramids, and maybe even the symbols on the walls of Neanderthal caves.
The iPad is way cool, and I'm going to get one. But far, far, far from now, the chiseled words on a wall might be more useful.