Gordon Bell at Microsoft has been creating some buzz for the MyLifeBits project, an effort to digitize essentially everything in his life. In a Scientific American article, he points out that you can buy a terabyte of storage today for $600, and within a decade you should have that same amount of storage in your cell phone (and four terabytes in a desktop machine.) Multiply that kind of storage capacity by the number of machines on the Internet and it got me thinking about what can start happening with the volume of information that expands to fill that kind of space.
Will there be digital archaeologists, people who sift through our society's discarded files and broken web links, carefully brushing away revisions and piecing together antiquated file formats? Will a team of grad students working on their PhDs a thousand, or two thousand, years from now be digging through old blog entries, still archived online in some remote descendant of the Wayback Machine or a copy of Google's backup tapes?
If so, welcome Digital Archaeologist. I'm honored you've paused to read this digital record. I might send you a letter from time to time, just to let you know how things are going here in your distant past. If I can help your research, so much the better. It's a strange world we live in now, one that's rapidly changing in directions that are not entirely clear. Perhaps by trying to explain it to you, I'll understand it better myself.