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Thread: Saving information for the distant future

  1. #1 Saving information for the distant future 
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    Hi

    Don't know where to post this so I post it in the general discussion.

    Background:

    My question is really just playing with a thought, even though I think it has some relevance but it's a bit extreme. Today I watched a video with Lawrence Krauss where he talked about the universe. He had a quote in his talk that was like this: "We live in a very special time. The only time when we can observationally verify that we live in a very special time". He was referring to the fact that the universe is expanding and all the galaxies are moving away from us. And in the VERY distant future (so far from now that it's really not relevant) scientists won't be able to see other galaxies around us. And when they make observations they will believe that we are alone in the universe and that the universe is static because light from the other distances will not be able to reach us.

    Anyway, this made me think about the knowledge we have today and about history and our society. Since all the information we have today are stored digitally (or on paper) and digital media evolves future scientists won't be able to dig up our stored knowledge and understand what we knew. We can dig up stone inscriptions and are able to understand the world our ancestors lived in but future archeologists won't be able to do the same thing.

    Question:

    So to my question (and as I said, I understand this is just thought play): If we were to store all our knowledge so that future archeologists can discover it and understand it. How would you store it? So that it survives for thousands (or even longer) years. It has to be stored on some media that isn't destroyed, and also it must be possible to read it (since language change). And you have to be able to store huge amounts of information (a lot more than is possible to store on a stone tablet).

    I think it's pretty cool to think about someone in this super distant future finding something from our reality. Since that would probably be more like mythology than science in that age since they won't be able to verify it through experiments.

    / R


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  3. #2  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Etched into crystal plates which displayed images when light was passed through them.

    I don't know. I would just try to come up with something that could be used without a secondary system or power source (aside from maybe the light of the Sun).


    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    We have had quite a long thread about this before: Systems to inform future civilizations over expected disasters

    There are two problems. One is storing the information in a medium that will last (etched onto stainless steel, rock or some other long lasting material, maybe.)

    The other is what language to use. We can learn from the decipherment of ancient scripts here. One of the most important things is to provide the information in multiple languages to maximise the possibility that at least one of them will still be in use (or, at least, a descendent of it).
    And there is such a project going on already:
    Building an Archive of ALL Documented Human Languages. - The Rosetta Project
    About - The Long Now
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    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  5. #4  
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    Thanks for the answer. Maybe I should have looked through the forum a bit better. Sorry about that. Yeah, actually I heard about some project going on but didn't remember what it was called. But I thought it could be an interesting discussion anyway. There can be more than one good idea / way to do it anyway. Thanks for the links.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    The other thread got a bit bogged down in "Mayan prophecy" nonsense so it might be nice to have thread more focussed on the topic. It is an interesting question.

    p.s. I realised I just skimmed your first post and ended up making almost exactly the same points as you - sorry about that!

    p.p.s. There is another thread somewhere about "what one piece of information would you pass on"
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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