Tuesday, February 9, 2010

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.



  1. Even the upgrades are annoying especially when the software isn't supported any more.
    I vote for the dinosaur that left his footprint in the mud where it later fossilized.

  2. no need to post this message --just trash after reading -
    I just wanted to mention that I notice you're not using tags on your blog posts - tags really increase blog traffic significantly by having your blog come up when people are googling. Maybe you already knew this, but the I thought I'd let you know just in case you didn't.

  3. To Barbara:

    Thanks, but Google usually links to each new post within an hour or less after publication. I can't ask for better than that.

  4. I was not consulted about the change from vinyl records and turntables to CDs. Nor was I consulted when the current technology changed to the use of MP3 players and iPods.

    I prefer paper books and hope they are around for a long time, but I probably won't be consulted about the choice to change from paper books to ebooks either.