…in a grain of sand

Interesting article on BBC Tech Lab by Charles Stross who "posits a future in which all human experience is record on devices the size of a grain of sand." The story behind the headline is actually an interesting discussion of the relative cheapness of data storage. Stross predicts that we're approaching a time when it will be technically feasible to store all the digital information that we as a species generate.
Naturally this could lead into yet another dystopian fantasy of information surveillance but what I find interesting are his comments about "recorded history". What we refer to now as "recorded history" is fragmentary compared to the recorded history our descendants may have of us. He writes "in the long term, almost all human experiences will be recorded. And in the very long term, they'll be a gold mine for historians." Most pertinently, he reckons that as a culture we're used to forgetting yet we're living on the verge of a time when, potentially, nothing can be forgotten and we really haven't stopped to think about what this means.
I suspect that the interest in transliteracy is caused in part by exposure to webservices such as gmail that refer to never needing to delete an email again. We're getting used to having other things remembered for us (how many phone numbers do you have memorized?) with the obvious implication that forgetting is becoming an active act. Transliteracy, we argue, is a new way of looking at an old activity. Although transliteracy does not require digital technology, digital technology is creating new relationships with the fundamentals of talking, remembering and forgetting and transliteracy can, perhaps, inform what might be a rather ya-boo debate about information freedom and privacy; about memory and forgetting.
I remember conversations in the pub in the past when the phrase "I think I read it in a book" was not uncommon. As we move into total storage and ubiquitous net access, transliteracy may help us understand how that phrase may relate to "just googling it" and "a friend of a friend told me that".

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