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In 10,000 years, what aspects and events from today will still be remembered or are likely to still be remembered?

The invention of the internet lets us store vast amounts of information, but most of it will likely be forgotten over time, or hard disks destroyed/overwritten. Which major events are likely to survive against time?

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    $\begingroup$ What is supposed to happen during the next 10000 years? In the case of a global cataclysm or singularity, it is possible that nothing will be remembered. $\endgroup$ – Michael Vehrs Jul 27 '16 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ I wonder what happens in next 5 years, should i switch to preppers now or not. Some think about autumn. So I would suggest to fix title. $\endgroup$ – MolbOrg Jul 27 '16 at 12:39
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    $\begingroup$ For scope of those answering: Ancient Greece emerged not quite 3,000 years ago. This question is about over three times that long ago. $\endgroup$ – Ranger Jul 27 '16 at 13:35
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    $\begingroup$ Here is an interesting fact, of all the writings and documents written during the age of the Roman Empire, only 5% of the those documents have survived and can be read today. that was only 2000 years ago, give or take a century or two. $\endgroup$ – shiningcartoonist Jul 27 '16 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ This question reminds me of A Canticle for Leibowitz $\endgroup$ – Lumberjack Jul 27 '16 at 20:55
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10,000 years are a very long time. It's longer than the recorded history so far. A Roman coming to our time would surely wonder how many of the things that seemed important back then are either completely forgotten, or only known in a very rudimentary and distorted way, or just known to a handful experts. And that's just 2000 years.

I'd expect that in 10,000 years the general people will know next to nothing about our time. They will probably lump the last 500 years and the 500 years to come into one thing, or possibly even a larger period.

They will probably know that it was the period where science took off, where it got possible to travel around the world in a matter of days, and where the first humans managed to leave the planet. Also it will be remembered that it was the time when worldwide real-time communication became possible.

Probably some people will have heard about the big empires of the time (never mind that we don't call it that, from their view, it will not be too different from e.g. the Roman empire), like America, Russia and China. What they think they know about Europe is probably that it was always chaotic there.

Probably a few big names like Hitler and Stalin will survive, because they are so ingrained into our collective memory. However the ideas about Hitler and Stalin they will have will be as far from the reality as our common ideas about what Caesar or Nero were like; probably more as the time difference is larger.

All the other names which are important for us will likely be unknown to anyone but history experts. Names like Obama or Putin will ring no bell (well, Putin is still in power, and probably will be for some time to come, so it's still possible that he will make a long-lasting name).

Whether it will be known as the time which led into a bright age of science and technology, as the time that devastated the planet and consumed all its resources leading to a worldwide economic and social collapse, or as the time which drove humanity into the World War III, only time will tell.

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    $\begingroup$ I love this answer. Also I would like to point out that what we traditionally think of as the Roman Empire/Republic lasted for about 1000 years (with parts of the empire lasting another thousand years until 1453 via Constantinople and some surrounding bits). Unless America lasts several hundred more years as a global power we might be more or less forgotten; the bulk of Roam fell 1,500 years ago. If America falls within 100 years, it will have fallen 9,900 years before the period in OP's question. $\endgroup$ – Ranger Jul 27 '16 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ Good point about the duration. Although, of course, duration is not everything; the history of a rather unimportant small desert people became ingrained into our culture because their religion later gave inspiration to two other religions that together had a very big influence on history, and on the world view of very many people. It should be clear which people I'm talking about. $\endgroup$ – celtschk Jul 27 '16 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ So in 10,000 years all that might remain to provide a hint about who we were or what we did could be a 40' tall stainless steel colossus with the enigmatic name "Trump Victorious!"?? $\endgroup$ – Jim Aug 13 '16 at 3:23
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"We come from a planet called Earth".

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  • $\begingroup$ I think for the average person on whatever resembles a street this will be the extent of their knowledge. Just as we could say humans started appearing in Africa. The details would not be all that relevant. $\endgroup$ – dunc123 Jul 27 '16 at 19:37
  • $\begingroup$ @dunc123 Except a large number of people, at least myself, would dispute that. I personally believe that as far back as we can tell we came from Missouri. In the general area of Adam-ondi-Ahman. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Aug 12 '16 at 23:59
  • $\begingroup$ @XandarTheZenon I guess that a future culture might make up their own creation stories. Perhaps they will base them on fiction from our own period. $\endgroup$ – dunc123 Aug 19 '16 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ My point is that we don't even know where on earth we come from. Should we trust our still developing scientists on what they think? What about the oldest recorded history? Maybe scientists will think ancient humans developed on the terraformed Mars then went to colonize earth while the oldest history says vice versa. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Aug 19 '16 at 12:17
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History is not about informations, but about facts that had impact on their future, so hards disks being destroyed should not be a problem. The data means nothing, their implications in our society is what we will remember. The great discoveries in science (all the diseases we have eradicated, the first step on the moon, Internet, 3D printing, the first mobile device as an ancestor of fully embedded techhnologies like IoT), tendancies in politics (first black president of the USA, first woman, the last great wars, last dictatures) and in sociology (maybe the rise of religious extremists and the revival of various extremist ideologies), this is what will stay in the history books. Rereading, I find it a little depressing ...

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    $\begingroup$ I would think that after 10000 years, most of the events mentioned would be reasonably insignificant. Most of these events are far too specific and irrelevant. The whole of the last 500 years might be referred to as the introduction of technology in the same way we look at the introduction of agriculture in the 8th century BC. $\endgroup$ – dunc123 Jul 27 '16 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure of that, what we learn in school about antic Greece and Egypt is their political organisation and their philosophical et sociological trends (which include religion, integrations of other nations, etc.). I Agree that the political examples I took will be insignificant, but if in 10000 years the concept of disease has disappeared, the one we fought will become significant... $\endgroup$ – Hydrid Jul 27 '16 at 13:04
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    $\begingroup$ Some good points :) Ultimately we don't know what will be considered significant because it could be greatly overshadowed by a near future event. What is considered important very much depends on the historian. $\endgroup$ – dunc123 Jul 27 '16 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ Historians make the winners, as someone famous once said :) Besides, if we have a major climatic catastrophe, or a nuclear world war, it will shadow everything else... It looks like a draw here ! $\endgroup$ – Hydrid Jul 27 '16 at 15:29
  • $\begingroup$ "Historians make the winners" - Somehow, this doesn't sound like a comment a winner would like to keep in the records... $\endgroup$ – Luís Henrique Jul 27 '16 at 18:33
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First of all, I think the information itself will be preserved. Much of what I'm about to write relies on the belief that no disaster will occur which may destroy nearly all of humanity.

TL:DR information storage will get easier as time goes on, remembering will be easy if people in the future are aided by computers.

A nuclear war or something may cause a lot of destruction, but assuming we survive that long, then as time goes on, information technology will get better, and 10,000 is a longer time than recorded history. I think IBM's Watson, the machine that can play Jeopardy, had a large portion of the internet copied as training data for it. In the future, the internet today can be copied using only a portion of a large company's resources, if they decide to archive it just in case. If a copy of the information gets destroyed, just recover it with another backup. The simultaneous destruction of all copies is quite unlikely without major incident. A small computer hidden underground should be able to survive most disasters today, and nuclear reactions, which convert part of something's mass into energy, can only generate as much energy as the mass of the matter being converted, which is finite. (If you want more examples of how large amounts of information can easily be stored, look up deja-google, the way google is a day before. I heard that it was used during daily challenges where you try to find the answer to a problem using google, but want to avoid spoilers created by others playing the same game)

As for whether people will remember it or not, I feel that this isn't necessary for the masses, because older inventions will sound fundamental and "already taken" to those who are overexposed to advanced technology, and modern stories about how new innovations can still be made will be more relevant. If people in the future are aided by computer technology, then a specialized historian can easily remember all the major events, including the ones in our textbooks, just in case.

By the way, based on current trends, information technology becomes exponentially more efficient over time. Refer to Moore's law https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moore%27s_law and the timeline only lengthens linearly. Hopefully, before technology of this sort reaches its limit, we will be able to expand to other planets, and increase the space and material we have with which to place and construct servers for the storage of information cubically.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes. It is quite possible the internet as we have it today will be preserved, and future anthropologists will be able to learn about our civilization in as much detail as they care to look for. $\endgroup$ – Vincent Oct 17 '17 at 6:57
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This is going to be a tough question to answer, but I'll take a crack at it. And before I begin, I would like to say that there is no true way to tell, because we have no real life examples and everything is pure speculation. I also apologize for the length, I wrote a lot more than I thought I would. There are many rings to consider, and I tried to cover all I could think of. And since there is so much to consider, I can't really give you an answer other than it depends and tell you what it depends on.

First of all, look at the past. Most people know only a rudimentary bit about events 3,000 years previous. That is only a third of the time span you suggest. This would suggest that very few events would survive and remain pertinent.

Now, let's take another angle. In the past few decades, we've made leaps and bounds in technology. Life expectancies are longer and information storage techniques are much more effective (although possibly not as long lasting). If these trends continue, then I can see two things happening. Number one, life expectancies continue to grow longer. Number two, technology continues to advance. Now, while operating technology will probably remain simple, creating it likely will not be. This might lead to a renewed focus on learning and education. And history is a very important part of education. So future people may be way more knowledgeable on their history than we currently are. And even if they aren't, that knowledge may be available.

Another thing to consider is how humanity progresses. What is important to these future people? Which topics related to history do they find most important?

Now, possibly the most important part. Loss of historical knowledge. An apocalyptic or even devastating event could wipe out chunks of history. Political regimes could also affect what survives. For example, when someone sacked someone else and burned the library at Alexandria. (I figured I'd display my own lack of historical knowledge :P) Strict regimes might make a concerted effort to wipe out certain parts of their history.

History is very complicated. Not sure what else to say.

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