Can Any Technology Last Forever?

Community member Giorgio is thinking about saving files to some type of storage device and not touching them again for thirty years. His question is which type of storage to use. What will stand the test of time? Which types of technology will live forever? The problem I see is that nothing lasts forever, which is definitely both good and bad.

Technology advances at an astounding pace these days. This is a good thing, right? We are creating products to fill a need at breakneck speed. Companies churn out better, faster and more full-featured devices on a seemingly daily basis. Competition is fierce, which lights the fire under businesses to come up with something more outstanding. The “I have to have the best and newest NOW!” mentality of consumers is fueling the tech economy. It’s a beautiful circle and one I love to watch.

The downside of this innovation and creativity is that nothing lasts forever. If Giorgio slaps his files onto a standard hard drive (or even an SSD) tomorrow, will there even be a machine around which is capable of reading it in thirty years? Is he going to have to scour pawn shops and thrift stores hoping to find a “really old and outdated” computer from 2011? It seems as though half of what we purchase today is of no use less than a year in the future.

I remember my early pieces of technology fondly – they are the devices which fostered my passion and allowed me to turn these passions into a career. Heck, I still have several of them lying around my house. How many of you out there can say the same, though? Do you still have super-old and obsolete gadgets and machines sitting in a closet somewhere? Raise your hand if you own something which can read a floppy disc or zip drive. Yeah – that’s what I thought.

The one constant that will always remain is you – the user. Your thirst for more, your hunger for true innovation and your desire for MORE will keep the technology wheels turning.

10 thoughts on “Can Any Technology Last Forever?”

  1. Over the last 3+ years I’ve gotten rid of my older technology stuff, including my PCs. I only have two fairly current Macintosh computers.

    I got irritated when Hewlett Packard stopped supporting my scanner after I upgraded to Windows Vista, and Apple OSX. The scanner is sitting on a shelf gathering dust, next to a printer that I no longer use.

    Those are the only two devices that I don’t use.

  2. True tech enthusiasts find a way to interface new tech with old. Even if it involves designing and building the necessary interface from scratch.

  3. I don’t know of much that becomes useless in a year. Sure the newer faster is out in that time, but it’s just an incremental and compatible improvement most of the time.
    For 30 years storage, CDs and DVDs are relatively cheap, burn a couple duplicate copies on each, maybe get an external dvd drive and seal it up in an airtight bag, and keep copies in multiple places. What’s going to get destroy CDs and DVDs is air, moisture, light and heat. Don’t freeze them, but keeping them in a cool dark place, sealed up with some desiccant should help. One important thing would be checking your copies periodically and re-duplicating them, particularly if a new format takes over.

    Going back 30 years, that would be 1981, Consider that was the year before the first 3 1/2″ floppy disks came out, 5 1/4 were still standard for some time. Now, for some time floppies have been gone from new systems altogether. I’d like to think that USB would be safe to plan on being around 30 years, but looking back 30… I don’t think you can count on anything here now being here in 30. We may all have a chip the size of a grain of sand implanted under our skin, bio-electrically or motion powered or RF powered or something, with high level encryption, and terabytes of storage, that we can access at short range wirelessly with whatever devices we want, like cameras, phones, or even computers if they are still around in a recognizable form. Just remember to copy all your CDs, DVDs, and BDs etc to it when it comes out. Anything older, you should have already copied to current tech.

  4. buy a USB flash drive – 16 GB there like 20 bucks or so put it a safety deposit box and thats my

  5. I think technology will last forever. But will not stay the same as the previous one. We might have phones but in the future the phones might just be like watches or tiny devices or even something like a 3D augmentation thing.

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