TED Conversations

Adrian Grassi

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An internet snapshot should be saved daily for historical preservation.

The internet is a great historical tool which is currently being wasted.
Every day millions if not billions of entries are removed/replaced and even deleted from the internet. Every time that happens we are throwing away a piece of our history.
Imagine being able to look back to today 1000 years from now and have an accurate historical record. That's what we won't be able to do because there isn't a effort to save this amazing historical record.
Would be great if we could search a database that accurately depicted event which occurred 2000 years ago? How many times in the history has history been rewritten and even destroyed?
New compression algorithm would have to be developed in order to completely backup the internet each and everyday perpetually. Not to mention that some monstrous infrastructure would need to be built, that why this effort should be a worldwide shared effort. A consortium would be formed and the idea could be further developed.
A worldwide HIstorical LIbrary/Museum for the future of mankind.


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  • Jan 2 2012: There is an archive, and it's proven to be quite useful: http://www.archive.org/. I often use it to view the evolution of various websites. I used it the other day for example to show someone what one of my websites looked like before I sold it.

    It would be nice to see governments help fund such ventures. There's a problem with archiving the internet though, which is that deleted content (for whatever reason it was deleted) would never actually be deleted if it was still accessible in an archive. People remove content for good reasons a lot of the time.

    I think however the best thing to do is to just let the internet go-in its merry way. Having digital content deleted is much like paper records being discarded or lost in a fire. If the content is significant enough, it will be duplicated and re-published for however long it's relevant. No will care 100 years from now what user "iluvchips" said in response to a particular blog post titled "I Went to the Mall Today", but the more significant things like scientific discoveries, major news events, and cats eating watermelon, will naturally be duplicated and re-published until it also becomes irrelevant.

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