Still wandering the reality of what we are going to lose…

I got a great email yesterday about my “information age, not!” post. The person asked “aren’t you asking for a Baby Boom memory transfer system?” Actually no, I am thinking about capturing analog information from people that are already retired. People that are retiring and people that are perfecting their craft and working. In our rush to digitize the universe around us its important to remember the human element of that process. It isn’t just the analog memories. Its recording what was.

There was a program on PBS many years ago “The Ascent of Man.” The first time I watched it, my father made me. Beyond that first time he and I watched it together because it was an amazing show. It talked about the rise of human civilization. You’ve seen the image that was the logo of the show a million times. The same is true for the rise of information. NPR did another great series (recording holocaust survivors, and then WWII veterans). I worry that we haven’t created an automated system for information transfer.

I look over my personal digital footprint and there are pieces there. Not a whole picture but pieces. I wonder what archaeologists will see when they piece together our age 200 years from now. Will we have left enough bread crumbs?

Television shows and movies talk about the dark web, information that isn’t presented by DNS and therefore isn’t in Google, Bing or any other search engine. You have to know the Ip address to get to that site. Or you have to know where to go to get a non-routed IP address. In the world of Bing and Google, knowing how to look for sites like that is a skill most people don’t think about. Its something that will slowly pass from the world if we are not careful.

Its also the what of how things were built. I love to watch History channel. They have shows that talk about many of the forgotten places right under the cities we live and work in. Cities of of the past that are right there. (I love the shows the focus on the underworld of cities, just amazing). How can we begin to capture all this information that is there?

In my book “The Syncverse” I talked about a place to put all that information. There are devices you can wear that will take pictures every (user defined) number of seconds. It chronicles you day. It doesn’t however mix the reality of how you felt, what the weather was, why you were there and so on. Just a static picture. That is a start, but having just completed a family history project scanning thousands of pictures. it is only a start. Less the stories that go with the pictures they lose something.

When I was teaching school many years ago my class and I made a HyperCard stack (thank you Apple!!) of Dinosaurs. The kids designed a place for the dinosaurs to live and because it was Mac we were able to include sounds. They spent hours thinking about and recreating the sounds of dinosaurs. The result was a really cool application. The reality was it was fictional. We have no clue what Dinosaurs sounded like, the technology wasn’t there, then. We don’t know what the sound was on the Santa Maria after months at sea, finally seeing land. They didn’t have recording devices.

Surely in the nearly almost could be soon information age we have the power. We could quickly record the retiring memories of all those people and build a search engine that would parse that. It can’t be that hard.


History isn’t repeated unless you miss it the first time.