Sunday, February 21, 2016

New 'Superman' crystals can store data for billions of years

Researchers in the United Kingdom have figured out to create long-lasting memory chips similar to the memory crystals used in the ‘Superman’ movies. Researchers have been working on a storage technology process. This process allows for data storage in glass chips, by the manipulation of light, to keep information as a representation of our time here on Earth (since the chips are to last for billions of years which is significantly longer than a hard drive would last). The human eye cannot retrieve the information since it is encoded in 5D (height, length, width, orientation and position), so certain lenses would need to be used. The researchers are now just looking for partners to help market and further develop this storage technology. 
I believed the article did a good job in presenting the benefits. I think the idea behind this is great; when we are no longer here, there will be a left record of our time that would not be dependent on a computer hard drive, which is where most of our information is stored today. The article stated that the manipulation of light and storage is stable, explaining why it able to last so long. It seems as if they have really have engineered the glass discs to hold an incredible amount of information (360 terabytes of data). As Peter Kazansky, a professor at Southampton University, stated, "This technology can secure the last evidence of our civilization: all we've learned will not be forgotten,” I therefore believe that this technology is great in the sense that important text and documents have already been stored in these discs such as the Bible, and can therefore be retained throughout countless generations, allowing for many more stored records.
This article did raise some concerns. I believe the driving force to why we even feel the need to develop such a technology, is because as a civilization our image and our own importance is so crucial in our lives. We are creating the need to save our civilization in chips to be retained, which is a step further than the written records we already are making. It further raises many questions. Where will they be retained or stored? Will the technology of future generations be so advanced or will it regress to the point where these chips were not even accessible to them? The article mentioned that it will be able to be read because of the way they were able to alter the way light that travels through the glass, but how does the information actually look when un-coded using the specific optical lenses?  How much will it cost to create one disc? How much of an adjustment would it be to use these chips as compared to the paper/on-line records we have of not only our time but also of previous civilizations and history? They did a good job in explaining who was involved with this technology but it will not be until it is presented at an international conference this week to see if it is an idea is something that will last. This article was able to express how they made this new storage technology process, but left me with many unanswered questions.

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