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How Digital Data Could Be Our Downfall

Eric McBride
15

 

Here’s a question I would like to ask our readers that I have never thought about until just a few moments ago: Have you ever sat back and thought about how much of an impact it would have on your life, job, relationship, marriage, parenthood, school, and family if you woke up one day to discover that ALL of the worlds digital media and data has been deleted? All of it...music, photos, documents, servers, emails, videos, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, ect....gone. Francois Ferracci apparently did, and in this 3 minute short film he created over exactly that scenario, it really made me think about how hard it would personally affect me to lose all of my digital memories and data.

Society as we know it doesn’t just use computers, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and netbooks on a regular basis. We DEPEND on these devices to get through our day, to document and relive our travels, to revisit weddings, to witness births, to let us stay connected with the people we love from anywhere in the world. Digital media allows us to listen to our favorite songs and watch our favorite shows and movies from almost anywhere, to store that project you are working on for your boss that you’ve put months into, to save all the data you’ve gathered for your Masters exam next week. These are just a very few of the ways we use and depend on digital media/data. Are we depending on it too much? 

And now imagine it...you go to sleep after reading your favorite book on your Kindle, only to discover the next morning that every digital photo, mp3, and document has been erased from every piece of computing equipment in your possession. Your iPod is musicless, your tablet and phone are photoless, every email account you own is empty, and your computer is dataless. We have become so accustomed to using digital data that grasping the effect that such a scenario would have on our lives is almost impossible to fully comprehend.

Not only would this affect us personally, it would naturally crush the corporate world as well. Businesses that have put hundreds of thousands of dollars into Google Adwords would be forced to completely start over. Companies that have millions of Twitter followers needed for marketing campaigns might never get them back. The data for patents on new technology and planned new devices would be gone. Everything....memories of joy, laughter, and tears...hard work we’ve put into our jobs and studies...the creativity and innovations we’ve put years into discovering...every digital memory and document we have...suddenly gone.

The creator of this 3 minute, but hard hitting short film, just provided me with a brief insight of how that terrifying moment would actually affect me personally. You might be wondering how that all of earths digital data could possibly be wiped out in one night, but after I did a bit of research on the impact of what electromagnetic storms could potentially do to the earth, I believe the directors scenario here is believable enough.

The short video from Francois Ferracci can be viewed below (Youtube link here, and Vimeo link here):

What do you guys think? Are we putting too much emphasis and importance on digital media? Do we even have a choice not to anymore? Can you imagine how it would be to digitally have to start back at zero?

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Comments

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  • Mag J Oct 12, 2012 Link

    Eric, Well that is a shocking movie. Thanks for sharing it. My house is only few Kilometers from a beach , I haven't been there for very long time, if that situation comes I will be going to beach and then sit and see some movies in theaters which are not digital. Probably stage plays and Operas will have more crowd. Banks will have very long queues. If it happens now, then this is the last comment I'm going to type in the digital world :D

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  • Eric McBride Oct 12, 2012 Link

    @Maq - Glad you enjoyed it!

    I see you've got it all worked out! Nice backup plan!

    I should work on one just in case...I mean..you never know!

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  • Gio A. Oct 12, 2012 Link

    Wel Eric after thinking about it, yes yes I would be afraid of losing al my digital media.But I do know if you probably have back ups of most of your digital media, like I do, the best thing to do is to place them in a faraday box. This is a metal box of any size that if an emp would to hit, your digital devices and media on your hard drive in the faraday box should be protected. but whats the point in having digital devices after an emp attack if theres no electricity to power them.

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  • Eric McBride Oct 12, 2012 Link

    @Gio - You just blew my mind even more. Even my backups aren't safe!!!

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    Maldor Oct 12, 2012 Link

    @Gio its called a battery ;-)
    its an interesting idea and if this happens that the ENTIRE world will feel the pain
    on the bright side (if there is any) the patent. wars would stop :-)

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  • Eric McBride Oct 12, 2012 Link

    @Richard - Now THAT'S what I call looking on the bright side :)

    And how would you charge the battery? :-D

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  • clouds Oct 12, 2012 Link

    We are indeed 100% depending on this digital world. 2 days ago, my external HDD crashed and I lost a TB worth of media and photos and it almost made me cry! How about losing everything, smartphone, laptop, computer, etc...
    I can't even imagine.

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  • Gio A. Oct 12, 2012 Link

    @ Richard- I know that you probably could use batteries but I didn't mention them because if you probably do have lots of batteries, they would probably run out in a few weeks and what would you do then.

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  • Eric McBride Oct 12, 2012 Link

    @Clouds - That is exactly what I mean! I would have had the same reaction as you. That's precious information that you might never be able to get back, and only from one of your probably many devices. Imagine how horrible it would be to lose ALL of it!

    @Gio - My thoughts as well...windmill? LOL :)

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  • Glostermeteor Oct 12, 2012 Link

    Thats why the cloud is good as a backup but not a replacement for local storage.

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    DaBartonator Oct 13, 2012 Link

    If a worldwide EMP hit my universe would implode.

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  • Dvoraak Oct 14, 2012 Link

    The video made me think about how little my digital life means. As a husband who spends hours a day on his laptop or mobile devices, often just researching the next great device I want to buy, the Polaroid made my heart stop.

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  • john castillo Oct 14, 2012 Link

    An Eye Opener. - Digital is nice and all But we need to be able to print a photo more often than we do. When we had to choose the photo we took we only took 25-100 photos due to the cost of processing. Now we take 100-3000 pictures without thinking about it. My last Vacation we took over 2500 pictures and videos and did not even look at all of them.

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  • Patrick R. Oct 15, 2012 Link

    It is a little sad when social interaction is reduced to likes, re-tweets, shares and +1s. Social and digital media are fine unless we allow our lives to revolve around it. We rarely even pause to think how much of our lives revolve around the internet. Think of an entire day when you absolutely did not access the net in any shape or form. I find it funny that one of my requirements for a hotel when I go on vacation is the availability of wifi - wifi during a time when I am supposed to be trying to relax and get away from it all.

    But on the brighter side tech is amazing when properly utilized... allowing us to have discussions like this despite being a few hundred miles apart. 20 years ago, this would have been mind blowing, now it is taken for granted as a daily occurence.

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    Maldor Oct 18, 2012 Link

    @patrick anything when used properly has good things happen

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