Current vice-president of Google, Vint Cerf, is warning that a “digital dark age” may be on its way. He expressed his concerns at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, stating that all of the digital files we have been saving on computers will eventually be lost.
In the past, our photographs, videos, and words have been saved to physical devices like CDs and DVDs, but our current method of saving information is entirely digital. While this is far more convenient, it also poses a threat to the permanence of our histories.
Cerf is promoting the idea of “digital vellum,” which involves preserving software and hardware of the past and present so that it never becomes completely obsolete. The concept would essentially be a digital version of a museum, maintaining past technologies in order to be able to view our files and photographs in the future.
That which was once “cutting edge” is now gathering dust in our basements. As technology continues to advance, the fear is that historians of the future and those looking to reminisce will no longer be able to access the photographs and video that we save now.
Cerf cautions us to print more of our beloved images, ensuring that precious memories will actually last a lifetime…and more.