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Jesse M. Holmes
Jesse M. Holmes

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How will we store data 100 years from now?

I'm trying to steer myself into a season of reading (film is my favorite medium right now), so I grabbed a copy of Sapiens per Bill Gates's recommendation. The chapter I'm on just described how we moved from storing data in our brains into various writing systems. What's new in the world of data storage? Where do you think we will be 100 years from now?

Top comments (12)

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Probably in ways that model the natural world more effectively. Relational and all the ways we store data now are probably more practical than ideal. I think we'll get to places where we might have "neural" in the title.

I'd also say that we need to get better about knowing when it's feasible to forget data. I think that's probably already the biggest existential problem in data gathering and it's only going to get way worse.

pitweetie profile image
Andy Lamb

100 years ago data was stored on paper, so 100 years from now who knows what will be possible? As @ben said, there's a fair chance it'll be "neural" but also "quantum" maybe? But that could be considered legacy by then?

pitweetie profile image
Andy Lamb

Or we could all be long gone because we burnt all the fossil fuel storing data in blockchains?

nirlanka profile image
Nir Lanka ニル

As long as everyone understands how blockchains work and where to actually use them we should be fine... But they still haven't.

anwar_nairi profile image

I cannot believe what we have gone through during these last 10 years. Who knows how much the concepts we are working on now will completely shift.

Some random thoughts:

And I might be very pesimistic over what the human can achieve in term of discoveries in this area...!

kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman • Edited

There is interesting work being done to encode data to DNA. All of the world's data could be stored in the back of 2 pickup trucks in DNA form. However, it is not really a tech that I expect will take off any time soon. Encoding to DNA is painfully slow, and the process of reading data from DNA also destroys it, last I checked.

barnambora profile image
Barnam Bora • Edited

My money is on us humans figuring out some method of multidimensional encoding in higher dimensions thus infinitely expanding our ability to store retain and retrieve information. Quantum computing is pretty likely to help here too, with things like topological qbits etc.

kiley0 profile image
Kiley Dorton

As we get better and faster at sequencing DNA (and as the machines that do it get smaller and more affordable), I'd be willing to bet we see more and more data stored within DNA. In 2019, scientists were able to encode an entire compressed download of Wikipedia onto synthetic DNA.

Check out this talk:

goodlight7 profile image

In 100 years data won't be stored it will rebuilt from bits and bobs with such incredible error correction, that we'll never know the difference. Everyone's data will be somehow be layered ontop of each other such that only your desire to have your data, can extract and recombine it, to make it yours and unique again. There will be a single "attribute" that will belong to all things stored, in all places with that attribute. You will carry around a profoundly small amount of data which can be used to generate all other data. That's my guess <.<

biros profile image
Boris Jamot ✊ /

The answer is: on paper.
There is no chance that today's datacenters will still be there in 100 years in a world without petrol.

dizid profile image
Marc de Ruyter

We might not need any data because we already know everything instantly.
In-brain optical RAM of 20 miljard PetaBytes..

yokotobe profile image

carve in stone