I read an article in the Guardian recently (thanks Emma) which fascinated and scared me at the same time. It was explaining how there is a potential that the last century’s worth of online data is at risk of being completely wiped out. Erased. Forever. It took me a while to fully contemplate what that means, to us (the little people) and human civilisation as a whole. It’s pretty fucking big news. Well to me anyway.
Essentially if we were to be completely wiped out. Like our old friends the dinosaurs. If Global warming actually happened like scientists say it will. And computers get annihilated along with potentially all of us. Will everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) be lost? All the knowledge, all the inventions, all the cures, the great leaps we’ve made in modern society. Where will the evidence be that we were intelligent humans who ruled the earth? Ok, so lets pull it back a little bit to our current timeline. If tomorrow, as according to Google’s Vice-president has indicated, that some hacker, or some computer genius pressed a button (ok it’s probably more complicated that than) that essentially wiped the internet clean. Where would we be? Literally everything is uploaded online. News, knowledge and most importantly for us (you and me) our whole lives are lived online. We go to work and the majority of everything we do is online. And the social media side of it is huge. Our experiences, our photos, our memories….could all just be gone.
This kind of shit keeps me up at night. I’m not a philosopher or an intellectual but we have come so far in such a short period of time. We rely on digital data and the internet so much, I wonder how the average person would cope if it was all just taken away in an instant? I’m pretty sure society as we know it would come to a grinding halt. You remember the London Riots? Man, it would be a billion times worse than that. Millionaires, who are so because a computer screen tells us they are. They don’t physically have that money there. If all the so called money in the world were to be ‘withdrawn’ the economy would collapse.
At this point my brain (and probably yours) is either shutting down or getting bored of this hypothetical bullshit. Could this really happen? Well, read the article yourself and make your own minds up. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/16/digital-black-hole-delete-memories-information-lost-google-vint-cerf
I think most people’s main worry is that all those perfect instagram photos you took of yourself, your wedding day, your first born child and your dog dressed up as Yoda will be gone forever. But luckily so will that horrendous photo that your friend tagged you in, that has forever haunted the ‘photos you are tagged in folder’. Thank fuck for that.