I’ve had this wild theory about data longevity and the end of human civilization for a long time.

Increasing capacities and read/write speeds of data storage media make data increasingly vulnerable.

The quest for denser storage is essentially making recognizable microscopic🔬 changes in an ever-smaller space 💥

The higher the capacity, the more volatile the data.

To achieve higher read/write speed, the time required is less, but the physical changes that can be made within this limited time frame are also limited. As a result, the changes are easier to overwrite AKA lost.

The faster the write, the less substantial the change.

💡 Imagine carving a “1” into stone🗿 versus etching a “1” onto an optical disc📀. The former requires more energy and time but lasts thousands of years, while the latter requires less but can be easily broken by a scratch.

Today data is stored in the cloud (though with backups), but it relies on a whole lot of things to work 📡💻🔌

Hardware and software infrastructures in both the cloud and the client, network, applications capable of reading and writing the corresponding data formats, and compatibility between all these dependencies are necessary for successfully accessing data.

Essentially the data storage is becoming less robust.

How does this relate to the end of human civilization?

Let me share one of my speculations on how humans caused their own demise:

Once human technology advanced to unprecedented levels, the robustness of data storage media decreased significantly. This led to a catastrophic accident that wiped out all available data storage, resulting in a rapid regression or even complete annihilation of human civilization.