A visit to my in-laws for Sunday lunch yesterday afternoon culminated in the obligatory look through my father in laws’ photos on his Apple TV.
He’s got it plugged into the big telly in the living room and played his favourite classical music while the slide show worked its way through years of pictures carefully digitised and stored on his Apple iMac in the study upstairs. The most recent pictures had all been taken in the RAW format and when I looked at the sheer number of pictures along with the massive list of songs available through his Apple TV a question occurred to me.
“How much storage does your iMac have?” I asked. “A terabyte”, he replied.
Suddenly I was transported back to the 3rd year Standard Grade Computing Studies class at school. The teacher was expaining storage. He ran through Bits, Bytes, Kilobytes and Megabytes, and when he got to a thousand Megabytes he said “We would call that a Gigabyte but we’ll never have to worry about them.”
It was 1993 and the rest is history.
Then last night I was reading the new Stuff magazine and their feature on Cloud Computing where of course storage is unlimited and in theory ALL our music, pictures, newspaper articles can be stored forever and accessed at any time, wherever we are, without taking up any space in the physical world.
And then it hit me. Fast forward 40 years from now (hopefully more) when I’m ready to leave this wonderful world. And I hand over to my children and grandchildren the password for my DropBox account.
Then, they’d be able to access every photo I’ve taken, every piece of music I’ve listened to, everything I’ve written, everything I’ve read; in short, the entire digital input and output of my life from now on.
Imagine we’d had that information about our grandparents, many of whom lived at a time when a colour photograph was seen as a precious commodity. How much more would we know about how they lived, their personalities and what went on? And how much richer will our interactions with our own grandchildren be if they’re able to access what made us tick when we were in our prime instead of trying to work us out from hazy memories and what we feel able to share with them.
Will we all live forever in The Cloud?