Wednesday, December 07, 2005

History 101

400 students file into the auditorium style classroom. Small screens and keyboards are connected into the Universities main computers. A slick steel door off to one side of the room slides open. The professor walks up to the podium, a mimic in shiny steel, dressed in the dark blue robes of academia. Students slide on the hands free single-ear earphones with mic.

"Today, we continue our study of late 20th century history. Unfortunantly, what we know of the 20th century is comparitively less than what we know of Ancient Greece and Mesopotamia."

A young man presses a button. "Professor Williams, why is that?" his voice echoes through out the room.

"During the mid 20th century computers were new, and filled up entire rooms. By the end of the century and into the next, computers had become compact, closer to what we are used to. People had turned from using paper products and had moved to all electronic communications."

"So why is that bad?"

Professor Williams doesn't acknowledge the question, but continues on. "With electricity at that age unstable all reliable records were erased. What we do know comes from the few hardcopy books and newspapers that survived. Along with family heirlooms such as scrapbooks."

"Paper books, how weird is that?" a young man says, inadvertently leaving his mic on.

"History was sacrificed for unknown reasons."

"Professor Williams?" another young man says, "My mother is a needlework historian, and she says that it was done for leisure reasons, not necessity."

"At the end of the 20th century yes. That is what has been concluded."

The discussion goes on for two hours, with the lack of information left from the 20th and 21st centuries dominating the questions. Whispers of disbelief race through students as a clip from a late 20th century movie shows on their screens. "It is believed only 4 minutes of the 3 hour movie survived."

"Remember the test on Friday, covers the 20th thru 22nd centuries!" The professor shouts as students pick up their pocket computers and file back out of the classroom. Never quite understanding just how much had been lost throughout the ages.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome! but there is one little tidbit that will help with that story.

the passage of the DMCA, the Digital Melinnium Copyright Act makes it a punishable crime to unlock a work that was locked by the writer for publication.

So ebooks and movies and music all locked with DRM (Digital Rights management) will be lost forever as the ability to unlock it will have been lost. With copyright extended to Obscene time limits (99 years after the death of the author or corperation... in other words Disney copyrights will NEVER expire) historians in the 23rd century will look at the end of the 20'th century and the 21's t century as a gigantic black hole. Most of the art lost to greed that drives them to lock it up and treat the customer as criminals.

Fortunately there is a underground movement of writers and creators that are creating and then releasing thier works to the world freely. maybe these people's actions will be all that is found and remembered in the future.

That Locked CD or DVD that is found in the bowels of the National Archives will remain useless as it's contents encrypted to keep the evil consumer from accessing it without the wishes of the content creator.