Digital has clearly replaced analog as the format of choice throughout all modern medias (audio, video, film, photo, print, & conversational). That’s 6 I can name that have been replaced by digital in the last 2 decades.
Since humans and the universe will always be analog I don’t worry about losing some epic battle, but it’s clear we are in the digital age. Anything that can be digitized is digitized these days, and there are a multitude of advantages in modern life.
But if you bring up the archival industry, digital gets put into a different light. See – the people who’s job it is to preserve things for future generations don’t trust any of the digital formats to actually last that long.
Infinite replication is the antidote to this, but each decade or so you might need to attempt a conversion to the latest format.
Analog replication always degrades the copy, and sometimes even the original. Digital copying degrades neither, and that is most excellent. Perhaps it’s finest quality!
The problem is that sometimes the digital copy is impossible to make, sometimes due to physical hard drive damage, but also because of the inability to read the file or media style.
Anything digital is encoded and decoded several ways through the process, and if the programs or technologies that do that encode/decode are missing or expired themselves, the entire copy could be impossible.
The end result is that even 200 million dollar Hollywood movies shot in digital actually archive a master print on film and store it in a cellar vault somewhere.
The digital revolution has already stranded much content created in the 1980’s and 1990’s in formats that are long gone on media that has degraded far faster than their parent’s albums did.
Bit-rot is real, and could be far more destructive after decades than damages incurred by vibration or magnetic media.
Since infinite replication is the key advantage to digital, we need to be sure that the highest possible resolution is being replicated, and we must curate our digital masters in open, full formats to ensure access by future generations.
If hard copies go away we must propagate the full digital masters or lose them forever.
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6- Team Ear [coming soon]