If civilization ended today, our Information Age would leave no relics. Our successors would hardly recognize that the 21st century was a time of unprecedented production and consumption of digital data—let alone the data’s purpose or its significance to our society. Whereas other world-shaping epochs like the Industrial Revolution would be recognizable by their ruins, the Digital Revolution would be invisible to history because its structures are virtual, and its infrastructure is disintegrating.
For a society that compulsively creates and stores huge amounts of data, our short-lived digital storage technologies don’t satisfy their purpose as archives, neither in scope nor lifespan. DNA storage is crucial to bridge the gap between archival technologies we have today and the enduring digital repositories we need.
In 2040, we will only be able to store 0.5% of all the data we produce if we don’t shift to DNA storage. But it’s a double-edged sword – If the entirety of human knowledge — every book, uttered word, and funny cat video — can be stored in a few hundred kilos of DNA, though… well, it might just be possible to record everything. Bonjour, police state.
That means that my building will in some sense become a reality parallel to ours – containing everything about our world without taking up hardly any space in comparison. So what does this world look like?
There’s a guy called Joe Davis who plans to upload all of Wikipedia onto trees in a forest, which is kinda cool.
And apparently doctors could send bacteria into our body, have them record our DNA, extract them and analyse what’s wrong with us. How crazy is that?
I see my project like the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – in case of an apocalypse our knowledge would survive. WIP!