there’s a girl over there
There’s an article over at BBC about an archaeologists’s look at Silicon Valley. She wrote a book. Anyway, at the end of the article, she comments that five hundred years from now, with no other information, that an archaeologist might see piles of computer chips, and consider them to be offerings to the Venture Capital Gods.
Which reminded me of Mt. Rushmore. Ted and I went and saw it a few years ago, and my reaction to it IRL was the same as it had been when I’d seen photos: a thousand years from now, they’re going to say, “And here are the gods of our forefathers’ primitive society.”
I mentioned this to my father once, and we then had a big discussion about whether English would still be in use a thousand years from now, or whether people would be able to read our peculiar little word-signs. He said they would. I said that’s what the ancient Egpytians thought.
Ooh! Ooh! Interesting. Hm. I wonder if they *will* be able to read our peculiar little word signs. hm. hm! the makings of a very interesting story! :)
Well, I dunno. I mean, we’ve written an awful lot more than the ancient Egyptians did, but, well. They didn’t expect people to be unable to read their writing, either, y’know? So I dunno! It’s an interesting thought, though, isn’t it?
Hee. I hadn’t thought of it as a story idea. It does have potential!
If they find phonics books – there’s a good chance people will be able to figure it out ;)
Of course, in the back of our minds, we’re thinking of a society that has come to ruin, and the future is either much more advanced or behind on technology. I’m betting that it’s not even human, but from another planet and species entirely who found Earth after it was vaguely liveable after we destroyed it.
But then, I’m an optimist.
Deep Time by Gregory Benford addresses this issue. Specifically, in the context of how to warn people away from radioactive waste storage sites ten thousand years from now after humanity has almost wiped itself out and been repopulated by the descendants of two New Guinean highlanders or some such. (Obviously, if there isn’t a break in the continuity of civilization, it’s not a big deal, and we’ll probably have dug up the waste for the exciting heavy elements long before ten thousand years have passed.)
Although we have written a lot, it’s not clear how much of it will last even one thousand years without maintenance; we’re not that big on carving our words into stone or concrete, and even acid-free paper
isn’t good for very long if it’s not kept in a library.
On the other hand, we seem to be getting progressively better at
archaeology, so unless we get the post-apocalyptic-wasteland-of- primitive-mutants future, posterity will probably be better able to figure out what was up with us than us for the Egyptians.