Via KurzweilAI.net — It’s not nearly as easy as it might seem at first blush. Do you still have any of those floppy discs a little over five inches and were actually “floppy” laying around? Do have a working drive that can read them handy? If the answers are, “yes I have a few of those discs, and no, I don’t have a drive handy,” then the knowledge on those discs is currently lost to you.
Think about how much human knowledge is stored on various media or on computer servers and how utterly inaccessible that knowledge becomes if technology is pushed back to a point all those devices become inoperable. Anyone else interested in retaining physical books?
|New Scientist Tech, Feb. 2, 2010
Even as we are acquiring ever more extraordinaryknowledge, we are storing it in ever more fragile and ephemeral forms. If our civilization runs into trouble, like all others before it, how much would survive?
Post-catastrophe, the lack of resources — of people, expertise, equipment — might be a far bigger obstacle than the physical loss of data. And resources are likely to be scarce. Restarting an industrial civilization might be a lot harder the second time around, because we have used up most of the easily available resources, from oil to high-grade ores.