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Wikipedia and the End of Archeology 256

Andy Updegrove writes "Far too much attention has been paid to whether or not the Wikipedia is accurate enough. The greater significance of the Wikipedia today, and even more for those in the future, is its reality as the most detailed, comprehensive, concise, culturally-sensitive record of how humanity understands itself at any precise moment in time. Moreover, with its multiple language versions, it also demonstrates how different cultures understand the same facts, historical events and trends at the same time. Today, archaeologists are doing digs to understand how people lived only 150 years ago, making guesses based on the random bits and pieces of peoples' lives that they find. In the future, that won't be necessary, as archaeologists are replaced by anthropologists that mine this treasure-trove for data."
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Wikipedia and the End of Archeology

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  • by benicillin ( 990784 ) on Thursday November 02, 2006 @09:19PM (#16698247)
    thats a great point and I used to agree 100% but then I realized theres a catch - in the past what you recorded would last for a long period of time, but you could record far less of it than you can now. Now you can record a lot more, and it may SEEM as if it's hard to read the tape from the 70's because the technology is all but obselete - but here comes the catch. We've created new technology that can record exponentially more information, and I can guarantee somewhere within that mass of information you can find everything you need to know about our old technology - including how to read it.

    your second argument is also well thought out, however this same catch applies, just in a different way. the data may be stored on a medium that will not last as long in its physical form and (ie the cd dye 100 years later) but 1) someone probably copied this information before it died and 2) there were probably multiple copies of that same information on different mediums to begin with.

    the spread of information since the invention of the internet/nanotechnology is just immense and unstoppable. and this information is so easily spread and copied it will last forever

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