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The state of the now, from the future - Ed's journal
The state of the now, from the future
One of the things I was musing on over the last few was history.

History is ... sort of a detective story. We piece together what happened. From the mundane 'what clothes did vikings wear' to 'when did William the Conquerer land?'.
But it's always a question of interpretation of evidence. We gather together fragments of the past and try and see what picture they make.

But here's the thing. Over the last ... well, hundred years or so, we've vastly expanded our ability to record what's happening.
We've seen literacy become more and more common.
We've seen actual pictures going from 'posed portraits in paint' to the state where ... well, a large fraction of the population have not just a photographic camera, but actually a video camera in their pocket right now.

News programs are getting footage from 'men on the street' who happened to think to whip out their camera when they saw e.g. planes crashing into skyscraperse.

And we have mobile web access - I could post thoughts on what's happening right now from my phone.

Indeed, we see this happening - the 'public record' of what's happening in Iran, is in no small part escaping through the cracks in the censorship via Twitter. Not so much the revolution being televised, as twitterd and facebooked.

If you look back onto Usenet, you see fascinating insights from the people who carried on to shake the world. http://www.google.com/googlegroups/archive_announce_20.html

And so it goes. The volume of information in the 'collective' brain that is the Internet is vast. Capacity increases steadily, as does our ability record.

So a hundred years from now, we'll not so much be wondering at the incompleteness of our evidence. More we'll be trying to sort the signal from the noise.

I wonder what sort of picture they'll get?
8 comments or Leave a comment
phyrbyrd From: phyrbyrd Date: June 25th, 2009 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)
They'll think that the main disease in the West was erectile dysfunction.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: June 25th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Hahaha. So very true.
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: June 25th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC) (Link)
They will probably think that something inconsequential that we all use every day and never record what we do with it is a "sacred ceremonial Piece" ....

Hoodies were a religious sect..
ash1977law From: ash1977law Date: June 25th, 2009 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
mister_jack From: mister_jack Date: June 25th, 2009 12:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Archaeologists from the future will puzzle as to why our civilisation stopped produced art, culture, books and knowledge; and switched instead to the massive production of these useless shiny disks.

They'll probably have the name for this harbinger of our fall.
stgpcm From: stgpcm Date: June 27th, 2009 08:28 am (UTC) (Link)
And that's true even if they have the ability to read and interpret the information on those disks...
ash1977law From: ash1977law Date: June 25th, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
We are seeing the begining of 'deep history'.
Put simply, before the 1950s are The Dark Ages about which we will know virtually nothing compared to the Modern Age.
stgpcm From: stgpcm Date: June 27th, 2009 08:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Yes, we have masses of information about now - but the problem with the information age is it's ephemerality.

Google have (an incomplete) usenet archive - but when they go bust, will someone else take this trivia store on? (admittedly - what was an unbelievably massive store 8 years ago is now simply breathtakingly large);

Yes, the internet web archive has (very, very) incomplete "historical" copies of web sites, but how long before this is turned off as being an unjustifiable use of resources?

The ubiquitous "blog" - how long will the hosters keep a collection up when no one is paying the bills?

Have you tried reading an online newspaper article from a year ago - all to often it has gone.
8 comments or Leave a comment