How to preserve knowledge?

05 Dec 2018 01:45 #330088 by Yabuturtle
Sometimes I feel we should what we can to hold onto knowledge, be it scientific, spiritual ect. Tomorrow is not guaranteed and who knows what could happen or how it will happen.

With knowledge however we have come a long way and I am know we will get even more advanced and hopefully more enlightened too. What I worry about is what can happen? Wars perhaps or even a cataclysm? If this happens it may set us back to the dark ages, maybe the stone age and if certain knowledge is hidden underneath or destroyed, it may take us hundreds even thousands of years to get back

I understand there are certain civilizations that are debtable like Atlantis although I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility but perhaps there were advanced beings like us, older humans, perhaps pre-humans existing hundreds of thousands if not millions of years ago and something big happened to wipe them out. We may even discover it. We haven't explored every square inch even to this day.

But even if they didn't exist, we have a responsibility to preserve the knowledge we have. I know I have downloaded terabytes upon terabytes of information to keep them safe and had other computers but this information is for very important things. Practical stuff too like carpentry, or sciences like chemistry or something like welding and machinery. If I obtained enough funds I would likely set it up to where this kind of knowledge can be safe and accessible but be protected Personally I'd want supercomputers in a bomb/fallout shelter but that is a wee bit out of my price range but I save every day regardless ^^

I believe we can save whatever knowledge we have and no matter what form it takes. It's not a guarantee we would be blown back to the stone age but if that happens, we have a long way to go before we get up to this point.

What do you think? How can we preserve it?
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05 Dec 2018 01:57 #330090 by Kobos
Replied by Kobos on topic How to preserve knowledge?
This is an interesting question Yab. Really there is even a problem with using computer which is assuming the future will have back compatible computers to find this information. To be honest, I am pretty sure cave paintings are the only thing we know that has, and stood up to the longest time of human recorded information. So saving it for 1000's of years may in fact be very much impossible, particularly because no matter the amount of information saved it may very well be interpreted differently by those who see it.

I think honestly the best and only way is to simply record it in so many forms it can't be lost. Even spoken word knowledge preserved enough for humans to continually advance in tool making and building of tribal, governmental, and societal system.

Just 2 cents,

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05 Dec 2018 10:06 #330101 by Gisteron
Replied by Gisteron on topic How to preserve knowledge?
It doesn't take searching every single square inch to understand that if something that used to span a significant portion of any place, then we would have found some trace, any trace of it long before searching the last inch left to search.

But before this derails into yet another thread of fairy tale realism and conspiracy, let's speak of knowledge preservation.
I think the advantage we have now over any other time in history is the sheer density of communication. Humanity is now, effectively, a global community. Communication is near instant and widespread, and very few cultures persist in isolation, and if satellite and seismic imagery is anything to go by, they are not the ones with strong advances in matters of science and technology that could be rendered a grave loss in some sort of cataclysmic event.
In the meantime, the sort of event that could set us back to anything more primitive than the technology around the industrial revolution would be the sort of event that would wipe us out pretty much entirely. Even the world of Mad Max would seem desolate compared to the one we live in, but in terms of technology and understanding of humans and nature it is centuries ahead of anything we saw in the dark ages.
What I'm getting at is this: In a tribe of ten, the death of an individual can mean the demise of the entire tribe. But the bigger the sheer number of individuals in a civilization, the less important the individual's survival becomes for the survival of the tribe. This same kind of inertia applies to knowledge as much as it does to raw strength. Because we are so well connected and because there are so many of us, man and machine alike, precious few events that would leave survivors would actually set them back, because copies of the knowledge lost, even imperfect ones are so numerous as to render only total destruction of nigh the entire planet an actual risk to the knowledge's existence. We are talking about an event that would not only burn all libraries, tear all recording tapes, and wipe all hard drives, but also destroy any and every bit of technology the survivor generation could try and reverse-engineer, including every log of wood that can serve as a primitive wheel to haul cargo or as a lever to lift it.

Your collecting information on your computer is admirable (not to say cute), but for the most part unnecessary. For one, it doesn't take supercomputers to store digital data, all they really need is the storage space. Well stored VHS tapes can keep information for longer than any modern hard drive you presumably have in your computer, and neither compares to good old stone tablets anyway. There are plenty dedicated servers storing information for easy access and many data vaults in various formats - book, tape, hard drives - for long time storage. Your time is better spent actually reviewing that information rather than collecting it, educating yourself, in the hopes of maybe one day contributing something new and worthwhile to humanity's vast knowledge that in another thread you'd happily call small or insignificant and in need of merging with fairy tales and superstitions to be truly complete.

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05 Dec 2018 12:12 #330117 by Twigga
Replied by Twigga on topic How to preserve knowledge?
Archivists and librarians are good people. I was lucky to work with a few - they are very good at both storing knowledge and recognising what is important - for example, I'd never have thought that the way in which people drew pointy arrows to highlight bits of text they found interesting in books was an important thing, but actually it has been used to date at what point in time certain books were influential, by the frilliness of the cuff drawn on the pointing finger, or the style of curliness of the arrow. (Yes, people used to draw WHOLE POINTING HANDS in books to say "this is an interesting sentence")

Entire international industries are out there to protect and preserve things like the global seed bank (under threat because the polar cap in melting in a way we couldn't predict at the time) and national film archives (highly flammable!) And it makes me very excited when these projects are undertaken. They also do it without breaking copyright, and with full connection to the institutions that allow for the fastest spreading and reproduction of that knowledge should anything cataclysmic occur - the educational institutions - such as universities, technical colleges, businesses in the field, and some private collectors, artists and thinkers.

But what can I do, for myself, at my own scale, on my own level? Register my scientific journal articles with an orcID identity so they are easier for people to find (thanks for the reminder!). Continue to encourage government to invest in libraries, museums, archives and cultural heritage. Stop naming my files "photo 1" , "doc 2", and saving them direct to my desktop on my computer. Scrapbook tickets to events like the cinema to concerts, and share those with my family. Because it's that personal stuff, for which no-one else can be responsible, that matters. It is still knowledge.
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05 Dec 2018 21:04 #330149 by Yabuturtle
There are indeed many ways and that there really isn't an only way, just many ways to preserve it

There is a lot to cover as far as useful information goes to help rebuild the species.

Not just a way to get information but the best ways to protect it. What can we do more to protect it? I like the ideas and am open to more of them

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