Vint Cerf Warns Humanity: Can Our Data Survive Longer Than A Century?


Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) co-author Vint Cerf is hailed as “the father of the internet,” but now he’s worried about an even larger communications protocol, on a scale of thousands of years. How will our civilization communicate with people in the future? When it comes to generations yet to come, how will we preserve the glory that is present-day, 21st-century society?

Yes, we’ve got storage media — but for long-lasting durability, does it really compare with centuries past? “We’re going backward,” Cerf argued in his column published inCommunications of the ACM looking fondly back at the history of humankind — and the way bygone eras preserved glimpses of their lives to echo down through the ages. It’s like a tour of humanity’s mediums over the last 17 millennia, offering the breath-taking perspective of a tumble through time.

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