Immortal Computing - Microsoft's 'House Records'
Immortal Computing is a Microsoft project to explore how digital information could be collected and preserved in such a way that future generations could easily access it.
A newly surfaced patent application has revealed Microsoft's interest in the idea. Most people who have owned personal computers are familiar with the basics of the problem. I have a box full of disks that I once used on a 128K Mac - and some more that I used with an Apple II+. I have no idea what is on those disks - I can't read them with my current computers. I have phonograph records in my house - but I can't play them. I think I might have some old Beta format video tapes - I can't play those either.
Companies have a version of this problem that is even worse. Just think of the variety of technologies used to store information: punch cards, punch tape, magnetic tape (of various formats) floppy disks and many more. The current pace of change makes this problem even more difficult; legacy systems are created every few years these days.
The Immortal Computing idea is to create some sort of system that would ensure that digital information could be saved in a readable, usable way for future generations. Companies certainly need this; it's possible that our civilization could use it, too. We might need some sort of "Rosetta Stone" to ensure that future generations could read and use the information and software we have now.
There is already some prior art on this problem. Bob Kahn, one of the original designers of the ARPANet, has created an online system called the Handle System. It assigns unique identifiers (rather than URLs) to find online information even if it has been moved.
Another approach is the Rosetta Project, an ambitious attempt to build a publicly accessible online archive of all documented human languages. At present, the archive contains 100,000 pages on 2,500 languages.
There is an interesting science fiction precursor as well. Frank Herbert wrote about this problem in an original way in his 1984 novel Heretics of Dune. In the novel, the Bene Gesserit is a secret society that kept records going back thousands of years.
The holoprojector flickered with its continuing production above the table top - more bits and pieces that she had summoned.
Taraza rather distrusted Archivists, which she knew was an ambivalent attitude because she recognized the underlying necessity for data. But Chapter House Records could only be viewed as a jungle of of abbreviations, special notations, coded insertions, and footnotes. Such material often required a Mentat for translation or, what was worse in times of extreme fatigue demanded that she delve into Other Memories. ...You could never consult Archival Records in a straightforward manner. Much of the interpretation that emerged from that source had to be accepted on the word of the ones who brought it or (hateful!) you had to rely on the mechanical search by the holosystem.
(Read more about Frank Herbert's house records)
Read more at Microsoft seeks patent on 'immortal computing' via Pasta and Vinegar.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/28/2007)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.
Razer Project Valerie Laptop Unfurls
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently...' - William Gibson, 1986.
Google Home Continues Implementation Of Pohl's Joymaker
'It is a transponder connecting you with the central computing facilities of the city in which you reside on a shared-time, self-programming basis.' - Frederik Pohl, 1966.
New Startup 'Improbable' To Model Our World
'A machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars
'The driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal...'
Project KOVR Fashion Protection From Infosphere
'... the entire shroudlike membrane took on whatever physical characteristics were projected at any nanosecond.'
Twist Bioscience High Density Digital Data On DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'
'We're Not Creating A Terminator' Say Russians About Gun-Wielding Robot Fedor
Nobody is thinking about the Terminator. Westworld, maybe.
Vantablack Now IMMEASURABLY Black
'a black coating now thatís ninety-nine percent absorptive...'
Mercedes-Benz Autonomous Taxi Fleet In 3 Years
'... the taxi utilized sophisticated electronic sensors to perceive its surroundings.'
Is 'The Pulsar Positioning System' Evidence For SETI?
'For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
Someday, You Might Like VR Enough To Move In
'That barrier was going to melt away someday soon. The transhumanists had promised...'
Humans Use Mental Power For Turtle Slavery
Now we need to start looking for animals with fingers...
Solar-Powered Moisture Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'
DxtER! Tricorder Prize Won By Final Frontier Medical Devices
We've been waiting a long time for this, Star Trek fans.
President Trump's Wall As Otra Nation Hyperloop
'...an hollow tube must be constructed the whole distance... as to admit a four wheeled carriage...'
Pickup Lines From Artificial Intelligences
'They hate us, you know... The humans. They'll stop at nothing.'
Pooper Scooper Drone Robot Watchdog 1
'Robots pick up the garbage and junk...'
Cassie Robot Brings AT-ST Walker To Life
There's even a log test!
Hundreds Of Robot Lawnmowers Invade Texas Town
'The mower reached the edge of the lawn, clucked to itself...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories