From the Daily Mail Science Correspondent Fiona MacRae, in San Jose.
TAKING a photo with the tap of your smartphone, you would be forgiven for thinking the moment was safely captured forever. Yet these precious memories could disappear down an ‘information black hole’ if we don’t print them out, warns a Google boss. Vint Cerf, the internet giant’s vice president, said the 21st century could become a new Dark Age as technology moves on and renders today’s digital files unreadable.
‘If we don’t find the solution to that problem our 21st century will become an information black hole,’ said Dr Cerf, whose pioneering work in the 1970s led to him being called one of the fathers of the internet. ‘The 22nd century will wonder about us and will have difficulty knowing much because so much of what we leave behind may have become uninterpretable.’
He told the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference in San Jose that records of our lives are already disappearing. For instance, some digital photos taken a decade ago are not compatible with the newest computers – and so cannot be rendered, or viewed. ‘If there are photos that you are concerned about, print them out,’ he said. He added it was ironic that ancient scrolls and tablets may stand the test of time better than records of our own advanced age.
I always recommend to my clients they should have their portraits or wedding photographs printed or made into an album, simply because a printed photograph is future proof and archival, no matter what happens with the digital files it was made with, you can always view it.
Imagine if you will, your wedding was photographed at the turn of the century with a digital camera and the files were saved with to a system used at the time, say, a floppy disc. These days floppy discs are unheard of, therefore if they weren’t copied and updated regularly to newer media how would you open them today?
Photography dates back nearly 200 years, with the earliest recorded photographs being taken in the 1820’s. Therefore digital capture is still very much in it’s infancy despite rapid moves forward in technology. This is why it is so important to have those precious memories printed so they can always be future proofed and enjoyed for many generations to come.