The Five Dimensions of Digital Immortality: Time
While our goal is Digital Immortality, we know for sure that we don't know how to ensure anything forever. We can only plan for the contingencies we can imagine, and try to budget for those we can't.
For example, will it be possible to gather additional data decades after a digital persona has been created? Should we assume that the growing gap between rich and poor means we'll always need two versions of a digital persona? We can assume the computer's ability to continually enhance presentations means we need to prepare to do just that. And the same goes for the computer's ability to generate meaningful interaction with digital persona.
These things we can estimate fairly well. But over time we can also be sure things we have neither thought of nor planned for will most certainly change. Suppose, for example, that some form of world governmental agency decides to tax the bejesus out the Internet? (If you doubt such a thing, then you don't understand the power of the World Trade Organization.)
Whatever we plan for the future of Digital Immortality, our resources will be limited by present economic conditions. And while we know that economic conditions can change, we hope they change within manageable parameters. There are, however, no guarantees. Meteors are not the only possible worldwide disasters; hyperinflation is another.
Meanwhile, we can start by planning for ninety-nine years, the longest term for which a domain name can now be secured. But ninety-nine years in computing years is an eternity. Whatever computers will be, whatever capabilities they will have a hundred years from now, I'm sure it will seem like magic to us. Or not. Unless we improve our ability to write what used to be called user-friendly software, the future will be more torture than magic.
One suggestion for making that improvement: hire the people who write computer games. Their work is not imposed upon an unwilling public by any monopoly. It is strictly governed by evolutionary principles: succeed or perish. Too many bugs and bye-bye. Computer games must not only meet their promised objectives; they must be enjoyable to use. Or at the very least, not annoying.
Until the software for a digital persona, its presentation and interaction, is as good as computer games, we must scale down our ambitions and be confined to the simple browsing of text and pictures. The future of Digital Immortality will only be as successful as its software. Given enough time, it should happen.
Back to the Five Dimensions summary.