The future of historical study
I was just thinking how my yahoo email address is probably ten years old(maybe more, I have no idea when I opened it), and how many other emails I've used and discarded throughout the years. In fact, the only reason I still have the email, is that the inbox contains a lot of emails I've received, and thus is a sort of personal archie. Not to mention everything else; all the registers, computers, credit cards, etc and what not that has a trace of me or my usage in them.
Which leads me to wonder how this will affect future historical study? First of all, what if there are no permanent traces. What if all our "electronic traces" are simply thrown out to the garbage bin, or they decay? Given that these days other sources(books, letters, diaries, newspapers, etc) are being used less and less to record data, how will this affect things?
Assuming otherwise, do you think in the future people will be able to "hunt" our past by going through colossal archives of internet data? What if for one hundred year from now all the emails you have sent and received are there to peruse at will(I can't imagine they couldn't break all encryption at will)? How many pages of discovery will be written on the eternal conflict of the political discussion at ACG?
Or, right now we are in the age of information, disinformation and repetition. How much of the data on the internet, of which most is utter garbage, will be there for future historians to study? Funnily enough, though most of it is garbage, is it not ancient garbage dumps from where archaeologists dig out the most precious data of how people lived? Somehow it amuses me to think of people going through all this to discover hitherto forgotten memes like we find cave paintings...
In a swamp scum rises to the top