This is not completely an idea of mine, I read somewhere articles about how the pyramids kept a pretty good shape so that everyone could enjoy their sight after thousands years of peacefully standing in the desert, while we lost the first email message that dates back just some decades from now. So some days ago my wife and I were guests of my mother in law. At a given point my wife dug out from a cabinet an old metal box, something long gone these days of disposable wrappers, full of old photos.
Some photos turned reddish, some were crumpled or wrinkled, but all were fine from the comprehension point of view. So we spent a good time looking back at my wife and her family in the 70s and back to her ancestors, maybe going back 50 or even 60 years.
Comparing this with my sister losing all the pictures of her baby stored on an unlucky hard disk, makes me feel like we are storing our memories on the water. Despite of what it seems the photographic paper has a lot of advantages when you look at it in the perspective of decades. First it is resistant, just store it somewhere not to wet, it doesn’t even fear the sudden deceleration. Second it is instantly accessible, you don’t need a power outlet, nor to wait for a startup time, when you have enough, just put it back, no need for a proper shutdown.
Third the media is human-accessible, you don’t need any layer of techno-stuff that transforms evanescent physical properties in electrical signals and then applies advanced mathematics to recompose those signals into an information pattern that needs to be processed again into some matter properties so that we can glance at a recognizable image.
How many digital camera images shot today do you think you’ll be able to watch in 10 – 20 – 30 – 50 years?