Our digital footprint could be lost to future generations

There are a lot of advantages to digital media such as photos, movies, music, books, and more. They're relatively easy to carry with you, take up much less room than their non-digital equivalents (CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, paperbacks, hardbacks, etc.). However, there's a danger that our "digital footprint" could be lost to future generations.

Vint Cerf, a vice president at Google, who is largely considered one of the founding fathers of the Internet, warned of this at a conference hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science last year. He says that the lack of an electronic storage mechanism that can withstand centuries of time threatens to erode documents and digitally-stored memories through a process he has often referred to as “bit rot.”

Cerf warns that as hardware such as disk readers and CD players used to access data on old-fashioned discs and tapes becomes outdated, everything from home movies to presidential memos could become unreadable.

Cloud technologies like Apple's iCloud and cloud-based storage solutions like Box and Dropbox, may serve as a partial solution. However, Cerf says there's a need to develop a system to ensure digital bits can be easily accessed hundreds of years down the road. He says that if some sort of solution isn’t found, this tech-savvy generation could be known as a “digital Dark Age” to future historians.

Cerf is right. So, Apple, why not be a leader in tackling this problem?