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Re: "Digital Dark Age"



DT Fletcher wrote:

>  Computers will continue to exist in one form or another for a very long time.
> In fact, I think we can agree that computers in the future will be very much
> more powerful than today. Yet, for some reason you seem to believe that the
> computers of tommorow will be so dim, stupid and inflexible that they won't be
> able to run Windows  if they wanted to.
>
>

  Right off the bat I want to say that I've enjoyed this thread, and kudos to
you, Ser Fletcher for sticking to your guns in the face of all us unreconstructed
reactionaries. Now I want to stick my oar in and muddy the waters a bit more.

The basic dichotomy here seems to me to be that you are an optimist; and those
who have to deal with the retention and conservation of information,  whether
they are librarians, archivists or conservators must be pessimists. There are too
many examples in the technology of the book, not to mention all the other
-ologies, of promising developments being adopted only to provide serious
headaches less than a century later. Wood pulp paper, anyone?

Now, before you tell me that I'm confusing less successful technology with more,
my point is rather that it is impossible to know concretely what will survive the
test of time. No matter how well informedwe are, our prognostications (other than
perhaps the most general) will be wide of the mark. That's the reason I, for one,
am real leery of the kind of massive change we're seeing now in the realm of
(gak) information technology. The fact that analog books from the last thousand
years, and more, are still usable gives me a baseline against which I tend to
judge new approaches to this old problem.


Finally, if future computers are smarter, why whould they want to run Windows?...



Don Rash


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