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Future historians and the problem with digital media

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  • Future historians and the problem with digital media

    A lot of our current history is recorded on digital and electronic devices. So how are historians in the future going to be able to study this period when the storage methods we use today no longer function? Seems to me that it's going to look likea bit of a dark age from their perspective because hardly anything is printed on paper anymore. Of course lots of important things will be continously transferred onto new forms of media however there may come a point where our technology for whatever reason dies or regresses. When a medieval society of the future finds an iphone buried in the dirt, to them it won't be a useful tool for learning, it will simply be an old relic from a forgotten age that nobody understands.
    http://familyresearched.co.uk/

  • #2
    That's also a major issue with video game history, so we can kind of see this in action right now with those. Without real resources put forward to preserve these things, a lot of this will get lost and harder and harder to find as time goes on. I imagine it'll especially be hard given most of these things will probably be on disused servers where the data has been lost. If nothing in particular is done, I don't really expect much in the way of preservation, so as you say it may result in exactly that.

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    • #3
      I feel like this won't really be that huge a problem.

      A bigger problem going ahead will likely be the accuracy of information, because it will be so easily to falsify and how would you even verify what's right or not?
      In the same way we "learn" shit from a book thousands of years old it'd probably be easy for some teenager to edit an ancient Wikipedia article and say that at this point in history there was a huge cult centred around wiping ones ass with a bare hand.
      1000 years from now, aside from being obviously silly, how would you prove that's false?

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      • #4
        Wouldn't there be changelogs in that case?

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