Ideas for the Public Archive

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3 years 7 months ago #962 by Mike de Sousa
Mike de Sousa replied the topic: Ideas for the Public Archive
Chris Perkins

"...can the digital record of DNA sequences not also be included? I also wonder if their are any risks in providing such a rich record of Mankind?"

What an interesting thought that prompts numerous others.

Some risks would be remote or unlikely - a not so friendly alien species for example who had the technology to visit our neck of the woods would likely and easily retrieve the DNA footprint from the bore hole, but they'd also be able to sequence our DNA by other means so I'm not too worried about that. It seems there are however potential risks from own species. Some humans might seek to access specific individual DNA information to use for their own advantage (for commercial exploitation or political purposes for example). What other risks come to your mind?

I first posted the following on Kickstarter but thought it also makes sense to include here:

Over a million letters have been inscribed onto the 2mm x 2mm gold-plated surface of a silicone "nano chip". Note this is not a data chip, it's simply a surface that carries the microscopic letters:

As gold is a very stable element, this represents a significant achievement in terms of archiving literary works - perhaps also the human DNA sequence :) The miniaturization technology requires nothing apart from an electron microscope to read the information (although the process of inscription is far more complex). Essentially this is a very old model (think stone inscriptions) updated, and using modern techniques. It has none of the potential pitfalls of storing data electronically. Prima

The definition and decryption of data file types, as well as issues relating to very long term storage of data is going to feature heavily in the development of LM1's own archive strategies. Given their size, the inscription of nano chips for a relatively few selected works could compliment the digital archive.

Perhaps having a variety of archival approaches improves the chances content will be recoverable over the very, very long term. The question of data degradation will be raised time and again over the coming years at LM1. Many institutions like the British Library are grappling with this.

Here's an old, yet useful general guide:

And a more up to date, yet denser read for those who want to learn more:
3 years 7 months ago #977 by Stavy
Stavy replied the topic: Ideas for the Public Archive
It would make sense to store essential data on a variety of media. We don't know which will survive best. Sometimes low-tech is better. I like the 'complete works of Shakespeare engraved on the the head of a pin' idea. Imagine the amount of knowledge that could be stored on an inch or two of gold

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. [/size]
3 years 7 months ago #1024 by peSHIr
peSHIr replied the topic: Ideas for the Public Archive
One of the best idea's for the public archive I heard in London last Saturday was the important knowledge index:
Should not take much space in the archive, but could/would be immensely valuable if information like this would ever get lost.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Doug
3 years 7 months ago - 3 years 7 months ago #1105 by hrezabek
hrezabek replied the topic: Ideas for the Public Archive

"...can the digital record of DNA sequences not also be included? I also wonder if their are any risks in providing such a rich record of Mankind.

Chris -

In terms of potential risks, my own feeling is that the long-term potential benefits of preserving as much data as we can outweigh any potential risks. This is simply because the risk level, should we turn out to be the sole exemplar of self-originating life in our current corner of spacetime, is astronomical (existential) should all that potential be lost.

Even the risk of that data being ultimately used to play out some dystopian 'zoo/prisoner simulation' scenario seems slim in comparison to the possible risk that Earth-originating life's potential might eventually be lost completely.

But that's an opinion! "What we can do, we ought, in service to the future of life's potential."

- Heath

Heath Rezabek // librarian and futurist
@ heath_rezabek // sxsw 2015 // linkedin
Last Edit: 3 years 7 months ago by hrezabek.
3 years 2 months ago #1629 by pebhidecs
pebhidecs replied the topic: Ideas for the Public Archive
I have just been listening to a debate that is going through the UK House of Commons about the use of Vellum for archiving all acts of Parliament. It is more expensive than paper but lasts much longer. The best archival paper is only guaranteed for 250 years while Vellum has proven to last for 2,000 years at least (there are Vellum books in the British Library that are that old and you can still turn the pages). Of course, the temperature and humidity stability of the storage environments should be maintained within specific limits but, even with that care, paper cannot last that long.

In considering Digital Storage, we will need storage technology that will last for a very long time without suffering the problems of atomic migration or wear-out for extremely long periods of time. I think our physicists should be taking a prominent role here to explain the possible media that the storage will outlast Vellum as a means of keeping records. There are, of course, wider markets for this than just LM1.

Paul E. Bennett IEng MIET
Systems Engineer
HIDECS Consultancy