The digital lifestyle has been our way of living for the past several years and no one could ever imagine it changing any time soon. Just think of the millions of music files, movies, videos, photos and documents being shared and stored online. It’s a way to preserve memories and information forever, or so we thought. If you think your Instagram photos, videos and other documents were safe in the cloud, think again.
Vint Cerf currently the vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, warns of the grim future for the digital world as we know it. Entering what Vint Cerf calls ‘The digital dark age’, Cerf believes that the programs that we have known and loved will later become obsolete, which can mean loss of millions of photos, videos and documents in the process, including yours.
At the recent annual meeting from American Association for the Advancement of Science held in San Jose, Vint Cerf painted a gloomy future for blogs, photos, videos and status updates that were thought to be safe in the cloud. He believes that through technological advances, the digital forms of our memories and the history we’ve built in the digital world will soon perish along with the software and programs associated with them.
"When you think about the quantity of documentation from our daily lives that is captured in digital form, like our interactions by email, people's tweets, and all of the World Wide Web, it's clear that we stand to lose an awful lot of our history," Cerf said, published in The Guardian.
In fact, this warning from Vint Cerf comes from a long line of proof that we can easily find just by looking into the history of technology so far. Floppy disks, cassette players and game cartridges that were once mainstream and relevant for years are now no longer existing in today’s world. You can’t help but wonder if this will soon be a reality for computers, phones and other devices that we use every day.
Apart from looking at the past, we can also look at examples happening today such as the recent security glitch on Facebook. Through a small malfunction on Facebook, an Indian security researcher located a bug that could wipe out all public photos in one simple click without needing the user’s permission. Although the researcher opted to take $12,500 bounty fee in exchange of notifying Facebook of the problem, the incident highlights a much bigger concern for users of any website, app or platform- that we could all be losing our photos, videos and memories in a matter of seconds.
It can be easy for us to take for granted the digital forms of our photos that we thought would be safe forever in the cloud. What we can learn from Vint Cerf and recent events is that we all need to take further precautions in protecting and preserving our digital memories before it’s too late. Vint Cerf stresses that “if there are photos you really care about, print them out."