tv Doc Film - The End of Memory Deutsche Welle October 4, 2018 11:15am-12:00pm CEST
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memory is an essential issue for us a sign and for every one of us up to now various media have been used to store all memories and a wealth of information. the average life expectancy of an inscription on stone is ten thousand. on parchment it's a thousand years. on a film a hundred. on vinyl fifty years. with computers all memory is facing an unexpected vulnerability. some technologies have already disappeared and. this uncertainty is especially troubling because we evolve to to make everything digital believing all data would remain retrievable for a very long time yet not a single digital medium has managed to achieve long time success will we be able to ensure the survival of all digital data or is it doomed to disappear sooner in asia
. with the advent of widespread computer use our data is now written in binary code these code which offers an infinite number of combinations is based on combining two digits zero one one these are the only messages our computers know how to interpret. our memory storage systems have changed. their interconnected and d. materialized and now hold our personal medical scientific technical and administrative information.
how are we going to be able to hand down an increasingly massive and complex digital heritage. what about the hard drives that most of us used to store arteta. they form the core of a computer's memory every day they record massive amounts of digital information thanks to a technique that spoke ingenious and precise. the hard drive consists of a set of sectional platters that revolver at high speed through take action of these disks creates an air flow that keeps the magnetic reed head at an infinitesimal distance from the surface. of the relatively speaking this corresponds to a concord flying at full speed one meter above the ground
a minute or so for that though you can see that the smallest choke the tiniest piece of dust he would. just large in relation to the distance between the head and the platter will be catastrophic a good test of it but once the head is touched the platter the hard drive is day because the head is stuck to the platter via a little are bonded. hot drives are vulnerable to shock and not entirely safe from dust and impurities that's why manufacturers can't guarantee them for more than five years. just a flash memory in our cameras and u.s.b. sticks offer a more reliable alternative. to
cleaning real u.s.b. flash drives s s d's as well as the flash cards used in cameras for example and raise another problem in that they have a finite number of read write cycles for them so the number of read write cycles is quite large up to one hundred thousand but in computer systems he's one hundred thousand cycles are free cheli quickly if however you use a u.s.b. drive an s.s.d. or a flash card for arca services in other words if you don't record your data on it and then store the device then it's entirely possible to keep the information for a dozen yaps unfasten more g.'s and then it will save us. a life expectancy of five years ten years twenty years humankind has never in its history stored so much information on such fragile media. will we be able to store all digital memories for more than a century let alone several millenia. we now have
a mineral that's heat and acid resistant that can withstand radio waves it may not be indestructible but in any case a. it's fast wronger than any stone novelist it's quartz. in japan engineers at the hitachi laboratories partnered with kyoto university have been working with. trying to create the most stable digital storage medium ever. but they still have to discover a way to overcome the extreme resistance of this rock crystal. why do they have it again. we began our research in one nine hundred ninety six. europe when the mural laboratory discovered that a laser could modify the structure of quartz as far as fast within a study the possibility of using this technique for long term data storage or declare a. cure. for this. i am now going to
record data on this sliver of quartz. the data is recorded by a femtosecond laser this laser emits pulses of around one billionth of a second. the pulse creates perfectly formed microscopic dots a dot for zero and a no dot for one in binary code. dozens of dots can be recorded at once. the information is embedded in the layers so it's unaffected by dust or scratches. another advantage of quartz it's transparency means the information can be read by any microscope.
talking about it it was all sort of conserved digital data for a long period. we cannot always rely on a reader to access information but if players were no longer manufactured for example it would become difficult to retrieve any data. and with this technique you can access the data using a traditional optical microscope so we can read the information even in a distant future. what time frame a hundred years five hundred thousand and ten thousand to test the strength of this medium a slice of quartz is placed in an oven heated to a thousand degrees celcius. two hours later the slice and the embedded data are intact. it also withstand shock when it's thrown into water at ambient temperature an acid bath has no effect
on it. we determine that the life expectancy of the data we have added on the strips of quarters is extremely long and three hundred million to several billion years in the likelihood therefore store data reliably and safely for extremely long periods. what's still an experimental procedure looks to be extremely promising one major hurdle that remains is limited storage capacity for now it's barely greater than that of blu ray technology. this would be sufficient to save the data of waste storage centers for a very long time but we're a long way from being able to handle a flood of information produced by certain scientific tools. to some particle accelerator is a giant ring twenty seven kilometers in succumb friends buried
a hundred meters underground on the french swiss border. to party. beings are circulated at high speed inside this ring. analyses of the collision of these beams captured by ultra sensitive detectors have helped pierce the mysteries of matter and the origin of the universe. where they are the same as the factor where the particles of the energy call either of them from those the reactions here and they collide there in the middle and the first many believe. you can compare this. with a digital camera but in your digital camera the sounds was about this size was saying this is a big volume bottom but then leave those in the form of differences that a camera the pic with a fifty two pictures or circuit was here with
a forty million times the second picture this corresponds to producing ten thousand d.v.d.'s per second. given that quantity information must be selected. electronic filters only let through data that's considered pertinent even so the amount of data processed by the computing center is impressive. initially this data is stored on thousands of hard drives which in turn are stored in computer racks in this way scientists can access the data they need for their research very quickly. yet the amount of data is so large that it would take several decades to analyze it even if cern had a network of computers that could process millions of operations per second.
unlocking the secrets of matter in the universe takes time a period of time that's my. much too long given the fragility of the hard drives on the cell phones. that's why the san i.t. engineers had to use another medium to ensure the long term storage of then valuable data. goes you need to just sit in the large hadron collider data are stored here suggesting that the what's in here means in these cartridges that contain tapes will sit in the same automated units like these to fetch them when a physicist needs to reexamine reanalyzed it's said that. there are more than fifty thousand robots manage tapes which are used as all kinds of media all of the l h c j.
y tapes in fact i've been here at least fifteen or twenty years and the same question always comes up to me is what are we going to change the system of the system the answer is no there are several reasons first recent analysis demonstrate the tapes are a thousand times more reliable than disks need not mean second tapes when they're not reusing don't consume any electricity and of course it's in spots and going to to see. twenty third if you drop a hard drive there's a very good chance that it will be completely destroyed that we are that's not true and taped it so that a plastic container could be damaged but we will be able to retrieve the data. proof of takes reliability the first computers made in the one nine hundred fifty s. opted for tape and since that pioneering era the storage capacity of tapes has been
constantly increasing. that the rest of the storage capacity of tapes as for disks and the density of transistors on a processor is limited so of. and the media today several manufacturers have proven through lab test tapes could achieve a capacity of fifty terabytes per cartridge that in the hope that we are therefore at a factor of ten from these theoretical limits missile to send me to. mass city is still growing. a magnetic tape can now store up to three hundred thirty terabytes the quantity of information generated by the l a billion email for sent every twenty four hours google alone receives three point eight million search queries a minute. these astronomical numbers are so hard to conceive of that the computer sector had to invent its own scale based on the byte. bytes consists of eight bits
representing syrians or ones so a single character of text corresponds to one byte. one page a kilobyte. three hundred pages a megabyte. a library a gigabyte. five libraries a d.v.d. . six million books a terabyte or a stack of two hundred d.v.d.'s. the two hundred metre high stack of d.v.d.'s represents a petabyte. a one to. a lot of the stack of d.v.d.'s an exabyte is the equivalent of all the information produced by humanity through two thousand and three a stack of d.v.d.'s stretching from the earth to the moon represents one point eight set of bytes or all the information produced in the year twenty eleven a stack of d.v.d.'s linking mars to the sun represents a yacht of night or the volume of digital data generated within the next five years
. at first sight no existing medium could store such a huge mass of data does this mean our societies are facing an impasse certainly not scientists responsible for storing data have understood that we now have to change our mindset then our looking for a device we all carry within us and that has already proved to be effective. this complex system whose immense resources still hold many surprises is d.n.a. contained in the chromosomes of all forms of life. nick goldman and his team are exploring this aspect of d.n.a. at the european bioinformatics institute in the u.k. . there's lots of reasons why d.n.a.
is a good medium it's very very small it's very inexpensive to last so very long time it doesn't require any energy we will always be able to read d.n.a. so something like a floppy disk is no longer readable in a few years time probably d.v.d.'s will no longer be readable because we won't have the technology any longer to do that but d.n.a. we will always have some technology to read d.n.a. the technology changes at the moment it's changing very fast every couple of years there's a new machine to read d.n.a. but because it. the stuff in our in our own genomes we will always have a new machine that can read. decided to encode in d.n.a. a photograph of their institute a text on genetics some shakespeare's sonnets and an audio file of martin luther
king's famous i have a dream speech. the challenge was to move from a computer language consisting of zeros and ones to a much more complex genetic code that involves not just to put four components the four d.n.a. molecule symbolized by the letters ac. these four elements came together at the bottom of the oceans millions of years ago to create the vocabulary of life. the famous d.n.a. double helix is certainly the first code that every existed on planet earth.
but with d.n.a. we have four that we can use and it's like a it's like looking at lego where i have four colors of blocks and i can put those together in any order to make a message and we devised a code that would use different it's like colors but letters of d.n.a. and each little block would represent one byte or one small part of the signal and then we could put those together in any order to make the largest signal and we devised a code that would do this but would minimize the number of arrows. that would have been due to reading and writing to. nick goldman and his staff started with the zeros and ones including the photograph text and audio file. they then applied their math magical code to switch from this binary language to the four letters ac g g forming the d.n.a. code. to photograph texts and
speech well then fragmented into thousands of d.n.a. segments. these were then reproduced chemically. at the end of the process the original digital message is recorded on thousands of inert artificial d.n.a. strands. now the d.n.a. holds the information in physical form it looks like it's empty but there's a tiny speck of d.n.a. in there and we sent that to the trees in heidelberg to be read. this point takes over from digital processing. to test the process the strands were sent to the european molecular biology laboratory in germany to be decoded.
biologists placed the d.n.a. strands in sequence of. these instruments will read the combinations of the four letters a c. t. g. . and mention the date of which i could be used in large research facilities like you know the l. then you have to find for people to start or at least kind of in the first instance otherwise all the centrifuge progress you're doing it in your future. cut taxes it starts or did our society is losing money and actually i think that the research on the and starch is one of the really promising fields is. another advantage of d.n.a. it's a solid material that stands up perfectly to transport. us
god the i mean you have to really consider us repairs the first thing is to have to keep it cold and you have to keep it dry because this is preventing any chemical reactions from the third thing as you're prevented from. so it's not surprising that the frozen dry ground of siberia was perfect for preserving the d.n.a. fragments of animals that had died thousands of years ago. about one year ago a scientific paper was published studying the genomes of ancient horses and they had samples of d.n.a. that had lasted for seven hundred thousand years and they were able to successfully read back much of that d.n.a. so that's an experiment that has already been done that shows that d.n.a. can last holding information holding a signal for more than half a million years. it took the german
team nearly two weeks to decode all the d.n.a. sequences sent by the british research institute. all the d.n.a. strands with red and all the messages from the retrieved. after we received the sequence read information back from the heidelberg laboratory we decode those fragments of d.n.a. and we put back together the binary files based on that information and then we want to compare whether that exactly matches. what we started with the photograph looks exactly the same and we also checked in the computer whether every single bit every zero and one was correct and.
then she's colleagues demonstrated that it digital information in d.n.a. strands is a perfectly realistic alternative which could also often large storage capacity. so using the same system that we used in our experiment the full size of all the information in the whole world is two cubic meters so that's two meters. by one metre by one metre so you could fit out all in the back of a large car. bomb from an out of the process is still experimental as it's complex and expensive. yet it is conceivable and within the realm of possibility that in the future storage sites could archive millions of test tubes containing strands of d.n.a.
memory just the way we store and organize books in our libraries today. our memory could then be set into the language of living matter. the question of longevity would be solved. but another problem a considerable one would still remain. with the internet information has become unstable as if the books in our libraries were being replaced every second a reliable memory system must factor in this dynamic none of the storage methods seen de quartz tape or even d.n.a. can record unstable memory our digital data our photographs our emails now have a medium that matches their proliferation a sort of perpetually changing library the cloud.
the term is ambiguous it suggests that our digital data has become totally ephemeral but that's not the case the cloud does indeed have a physical location in data centers. data center is first and foremost a stronghold a type of safe that guarantees the security of the data it contains sascha a beach poor from the french institute for research in computer science and automation office to take us around the largest european data center located in northern france. some of the billions of digital data that transits every second
over the internet is processed and stored in these threads. and says this is a rack there are hundreds of them all around us they consist of going to shooters and disks it is this is the cloud of. all the memory of companies memories of individuals your photographs your emails it's all located in racks like this somewhere on the planet in the data centers. the cloud of data centers manages our digital lives every day including an increasingly large share of our private lives.
the memory of humanity the memory of individuals is to a certain extent contained in data centers and those. who don't know this data is extremely valuable we can't lose it we don't want to lose your photographs and the only way the method that we have now found to keep and protect your information is essentially to replicate a ticket so with the data centers our memory will always be constantly duplicated from. god drive to hard drive to remain permanent. the fact that you can take digital information replicated or reproduce it typically infinitely means that there is a small probability that an arrow will be introduced at some point so the question is we can live with a small probability that when we reproduce and reproduce and reproduce the small
probability of eric can become large over time we have inserted correcting codes in the digital representation of data which means that we can guarantee that a copy will always be reliable. every digital message recorded on any kind of medium whatsoever carries its own error correcting codes and shoring that the data is copied perfectly. protected in this way a file can be replicated didn't definitely on site or in another data center located far away from the fast. so everything even if hundreds of hard drives crash in a data center it has no impact on our data because it's been duplicated. as our digital memories become mobile transitory their volume continues to grow and data centers proliferate. generating an ever increasing amount of
information is knowledge and the question raised is obviously whether this information is this knowledge will be available in fifty years and one hundred will or researcher or university professor a hundred years from now be able to study the internet of the early twenty first century and what will be available will be still have the internet will still have a trace of all of that. with the internet constantly are launched by the data center as information is now. in flux. the web is changing all the time new pages appear every second while others disappear. what method can be used so that future generations can consult this memory which has become ephemeral and transitory. after ensuring the conservation of french television and radio archives the eye any. day now has the delicate mission of archiving internet traffic from all the french sites involved in this sector.
i.t. engineers in the internet archive department are sorting these sites and storing them page by page. each web page in your consists of numerous elements that produce the display including text images code and display elements it is. for example this web page consists of nearly two hundred objects all these objects can be modified over time on suspended destroyed it. it. is to visit each page as regularly as possible because if we merely captured one given moment of a website we would not get an accurate idea of its dynamic an example lucian how it is updated and how information is added over time those who normally should be there for me if i use the metaphor of a film we try to capture not twenty four images per second but twenty images per
day the film to capture an overview of the websites and this is where. at any moment someone may add a comment another attach an image third include a link and so on in a constantly evolving environment. storing the internet is a colossal task. the i.t. staff at the i.a.e.a. uses web robots. twenty five times a day they fetch all the images text an audio files on each page of each of the ten thousand websites they follow. and that way the internet flow is captured via a series of snapshots. in
five years the i n a engineers have gathered twenty five billion files including seven billion web pages. this fragmented memory stored on tape will be available to historians address searchers who will one day take a look back on the well as it is today. their job will be even more complex in that the internet is certainly going to continue to expand all the time. here each site is symbolized by a point. this representation of the internet. illustrates a complexity that looks similar to what we know about the universe. to total number of websites on the internet has now reached almost two billion.
people a historian one thousand years from now or still in the early twenty first century will have an inconceivable quantity of information available that format it on for research how it will therefore be much harder to sort through it and make any sense of it given such a profusion of data their lab and also therefore must. do we run the risk of disappearing given this immensity. internet traffic creates a mass of data that can overwhelm our digital memory if we don't have efficient computer tools to manage it. researches in venice equipped with powerful data analysis software have launched a mining project much like archaeologists of the largest paper archives in the
world. their approach is probably an example of how future historians will work given the immense quantity of information we're currently generating. the field of investigation is not the internet but rather the archives of the state of venice millions of documents spanning ten centuries of the city's history are stored in eighty kilometers of shelves they include birth and death certificates business registers and notarized deals along with other documents both valuable and commonplace. yes. with these priceless archives it will be possible to reconstruct nearly day by day the life of the city and its residents to form a kind of google ahead of its time. how can we access such a large quantity of information. the venice time machine project begun by the city
of venice and the acorn party technique figure i lose out on the e.p.l. is trying to once of this question. when it's time machine it up events time machine project which aims to create new tools for navigating through the thousand years of the nation and european history based on a major digitization of the venice archives of the new movies as your discussion of the idea is essentially to transform the dozens of kilometers of documents that we have into an open information system on there will be accessible via new navigation interfaces the result of as initiatives. by just so seeing the document from its medium digitization dispenses with the need to handle paper which is heavy and bulky. in a sense the information is suspended in a digital space. then it can be accessed in an infinite number of ways.
to a proper noun can be found nearly instantaneously was in the thousands of scattered documents. script only you know it digital indexing of documents allows up to is to make interconnections that would have been impossible to do before you were able to find all the documents of the deal with a particular person even from different series of documents wills apprenticeship contracts and various official acts you were able to do the same thing for places that you know in other words don't find all the documents referring to rip. to cuter place among the mass of documents and you can restrict the search to a specific place and time therefore offering new ways of accessing information that would be totally impossible to do if you were working with a traditional catalog and regular paper records. stick to the nation administrators in one thousand a.d. even imagine that one day they would face physical limits. paper records
are efficient finding specific information in them isn't the boreas process. ten centuries later we now have algorithms and software that can create connections between diverse items of data in order to make sense of them. in this way another history of the venetian republic one that's more subtle more nuanced more accurate emerges from the enormous mass of disparate papers. secondly that each of the documents we have transcribed is then advising and to search for the names of people and places and things of year we have a person name it but there's the nonny you're going to do is link to several other people who have been identified by the recognition algorithm and little by little it because it forms an initial graph which is linked to this particular document. the same process is repeated for others such as tax that liberation for example is
the best in others but is that here but eastern only is connected to other people. when we have extracted all the data we can then gather all the information available on a particular person is it this way we can create this large graph that form something like a facebook of the past it will only continue to grow as we digitize and analyze the archives of. the nanny whose name and life had been buried in a sea of paper has been revived. now phoenicians from the past and no longer lost in an anonymous crowd but have become individuals with interacting destinies that have shaped history. in default for one of the great strengths of the venice archives of the iss there is so much documentation on the micro history to even you know the words the history of all the venetians of it and not merely the major figures and accounts
but this forms the dense fabric of history is the capital h. the history we study and i truly hope that in the future historians looking back at our era perhaps in one hundred years or two hundred years will have available a sufficient amount of data to reconstruct our contemporary era with the same density which it is not so much the fragility of the hard drives of the future what matters is our ability to set up procedures to encode food ricotta to transmit and perpetuate over all these years of data we will have created in the scorecard. in our time we're gathering the same kinds of individual and collective information that were collected over the centuries by the venetians along with the data produced by major research laboratories that of administrations plus facebook twitter and other social networks. i mean if we don't have instruments capable of navigating through this mass of information it will be hard to consult just like the paper archives prior to the development of the venice time machine.
these new navigational tools already exist. any knighted states i.b.m. has developed an ultra powerful interface called watson. with its algorithms the supercomputer can analyze and retrieve two hundred million pages in three seconds. in the near future we may have an interface on our computers around mobile phones that will have enough computing power to be something of an additional memory device. even now our memory is an interconnected mass memory which can be consulted constantly and which despite the fragility of the current media will keep information available. for
a very long time we have been afraid of falling into oblivion is the fear of death because the idea that we are going to disappear i mean walk us through the memory is a way of holding on to time and in a certain way people avoiding death because you know the question of returning for . the memories that we have of a nurse in a country or of some history is now a needless fear because we can conserve everything with the digital mentally to get out of the. keeping everything nails that raises an entirely new set of questions for the history of human caused documented.
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