Author and ephemeral-media expert Bruce Sterling noted the launch of the Forging the Future Web site last week in his blog for Wired magazine, Beyond the Beyond.
As the originator of the famed “Dead Media List,” Sterling knows more than just about anybody about the problem of technical amnesia. Acknowledging the speedy obsolescence of contemporary digital formats, Sterling asks:
You know why people don’t shout this from rooftops? Because this forced obsolescence used to pay the computer industry handsomely. Yes, it used to. Now you look at the half-collapsed squelette full of scary, echoing absences and, yes, “Gothic High Tech.”
Exactly why we need to move beyond short-term technical fixes and toward longer-term paradigms of preservation. Of course, Forging the Future aims to offer tools as well as hope, as Sterling notes:
They’re not just mournfully Utopianizing! God bless ’em, they’re trying to build stuff!
With luck, we won’t let Bruce down.