It's a fair bet that most people reading this website have a digital camera or two and that they're pretty happy with the convenience they offer over film cameras, but what will happen to those precious photos stored only as zeroes and ones in 25 or even 125 years' time?
That's an issue that seems to be rarely addressed by companies encouraging us to ditch the dull analogue world for the bright digital future, but the fact remains that our children and their descendants probably won't have many printed photo albums with which to reminisce about their forebears.
Of course, we could take the seemingly backward step of printing everything instead of just uploading it to Flickr or FaceBook, but how about physically preserving those JPEGs for future generations?
New Scientist suggests that the experience of archaeologists might lead us to store binary data in ceramic glazes on pottery. That could last for thousands of years, although it's doubtful anyone will ever reconstitute photos from bumps on a pot.
Alternatively, scaling up a hard drive by etching zeroes and ones onto a thick steel disk could provide a long-lasting, albeit painstaking, solution.
Then there's the notion of taking whatever medium we light on and encasing it in amber for that 150-million-year shelf life so beloved of palaeontologists.
Whatever we end up selecting, it's clear that we risk losing a lot for the sake of that convenience we mentioned at the start.
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