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The Shape of Things to Come (Future of Tech 1/2)


-Cree, Counter Racist theorist, Blogger & Radio host

Cellphones, computers, laptops, tablets all hold their data on hard drives. The grey bars are the failure rates up through the end of 2013, and the colored bars are the failure rates including all of the data up through the end of June, 2014.

Will Black people utilize the technological tools of the 21st century? Can we summon the willpower to take the high tech being developed right before our eyes or will it continually be used against us?

This information age has changed the face of humanity, in a way not seen since the Industrial revolution. If you took someone from the early 1900’s and somehow transported them to present day, they would probably have endless trouble functioning. Computers? Cell phones? instant news media? instant connection to people all around the world, and indeed in space? Their head would be spinning something crazy. We are in the future that was written in 20th century science fiction, and often times, don't realize the wonder of the world around us. Tools have been created that can accomplish tasks, almost impossible to previous generations, yet too often, there are Black people buying up all the latest gadgets, and not using them to their full potential. Brothers and Sisters buying the newest Iphone 9XJ and only using them to make calls and as an expensive camera, taking gigabytes of pictures and videos over a couple year span and eventually losing or breaking the phone. Along with losing the phone, they concurrently lose all the images and memories held in that device. Have we forgotten how to print out and frame our memories, to archive them and save them for future generations? Will our future generations even know what we looked like?

I’ve visited my Grandmother in law, and admired her pictures of her forebears. Generations and generations of faces on the walls, each with their own story to accompany the image. What this does on a very small scale, is allow us to see what they were doing, and if we so desire, to attempt to continue that work, or to learn from their mistakes. If every couple years, loads and loads of our images and memories are lost to digital degradation, what connection will we have to those who came before us? It’s been said that the life of a hard drive is around 5 years, so even if one downloads their phones to their hard drives, they are still at great risk, whereas physical photographs, have a lifespan anywhere from decades to centuries. To remedy this in my own life, I’ve found companies that print photographs for very cheap, and a few times a year I’ve send digital images to them, and had them send me photographs back.


What if something happened that quickly caused us to be unable to access the loads of data we’ve stored during this information age? Solar Flare, Nuclear War, white people hitting the digital killswitch, anything. The children born in that society would be at the mercy of whoever controls that output of media. They could be told anything, and they would be forced to accept it.
Sound familiar?
Of course it does, 21st century USA is eerily similar to that dystopian future, with the only difference being that we have books, libraries, documentaries and researchers to push back against the lies being put forward. That pushback is slowly being neutralized today. Libraries are being digitized at an alarming rate, cultural and gender studies are being dropped at universities, historical monuments are being destroyed[1][2][3], books that focus on Black people are being bought up, and resold at exorbitant rates. In the 2000’s I was able to go to City College, take loads of Black Studies classes, buy hundreds of books that I found interesting and develop my mind the way I wanted to. If a youth today wanted to do something similar, things would be difficult for them.

White people prepare for a Digital Dark Age

There are loads of people around the world preparing archives for this possible future. We have the Internet Archive in California, which is working to make a multiple copies of every website, ever made, copies of every book ever written, and as many videos as they can get. They also work to take this data and save it on different mediums such as paper, CDs, DVD, different drives and more.

There’s the Library of Alexandria in Egypt that is working to capture the glory and spirit of the original Library of Alaxendria that was burnt down multiple times by invading barbarians.

There’s Google who is working to do the same thing as the Internet Archive, with the hopes of using it for some capitalist gain.

The Long Now Foundation, according to their website, was established in 1996 to develop the Clock and Library projects, as well as to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution. The Long Now Foundation hopes to provide a counterpoint to today's accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common. We hope to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years.

White people focus when they see a problem. We will do well to put some framework in place to mitigate some of this disaster.



17 months ago
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