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Will historians of the future have it easy? watch

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    When we are trying to look back into the past, we need to hunt for evidence, look for patterns, make assumptions. Only in recent years has carbon dating technology been a very useful tool for us.

    I can't help but think that we are making it easy for historians of the next 1,000 years and more. Concise records of our existance will live on in electronic form in some way or another, time capsules burried all over the place etc.

    Also, what do you think people will think about us in thousands of years? Primitive race, just up and coming? The ones who started off the spark of technology, and without us whatever they have would not be possible?
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    I think perhaps our records will be easier to observe and statistically, the historians of the future may have less problems identifying social trends. However, I think compared to the past, we now make more complex decisions, based on more factors and with more actors involved. With the onset of globalisation as a dominant force, this can only become more complex as we become more intertwined and the decisions of our leaders are based on more and more factors. Of course, this may sound like I'm saying we make hugely complex and obscure decisions now, but I have just cobbled this idea together now :P:

    I guess if we look at the war in Iraq (sorry...), we have no real clue at the moment of the legality of the war, or why we definitely went to war etc. I'm not sure the historians of the future will have anymore luck? Maybe that's a problem any historian has - we're not able to judge the social climate of the time and so are never really going to understand exactly why someone thought what they did.
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    Historians in the future will have a hell of a time due to the importance and destructive nature of the internet. A good deal of communication and information is put across via internet as opposed to letters and the like; certainly anything important tends to be. However, practically all communication and information is or will be destroyed if it is expressed online. No longer will we have letters, diaries, etc. - e-mails and blogs are not kept indefinitely because there is generally no hard copy. So historians will have it easier in some ways - the proliferation of broadcasting and other media mean that they will be able to tell some things about us, but only really what the media wants to say. As with any period in history, the "common man" will remain just as anonymous.
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    I don't think Historians will have it easy, though naturally it will depend on how far in the future we are talking about. I think we're more aware as a society of preserving our past and making sure that future generations have access to information about contemporary society, but I think that computers to a certain extent is hindering the keeping of records. Letters can filter through and survive. Emails? Not so much. I think electronic records, whilst it is of course possible to make copies, are also slightly more vulnerable than hard copies, owing to that lovely 'Delete' option :p:

    On the other hand, the internet is extremely useful for making it easier to access records and historical sources which is extremely beneficial for historians.

    Sadly, we shall not be around to be able to answer this question fully
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    I don't think humans will exist in a thousand years.
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    I find it hard to sometimes come up with good reasonings/explanations for political events that happened within this decade. So I don't think people in a 100 years will have it any easier.

    At least we can more or less trust historical evidence from a long time ago, but with digital editing and computers its easier than ever to fake things. Also, records will be a lot less permanent than before, and more easy to manipulate.
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    easier in terms of discovering the events but there will be alot of conflicting records. after all logs are often created with a bias towards one side, often causing distortion in what really transpired
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    Not as good as the friendliest era ~ The Pally olithic Age.



    "Will historians of the future have it easy?" I think they will
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    I remember hearing somewhere that some people believe that we are gonna head into a digital dark age. Sure, we have plenty of information on disks, tapes and hard drives, but preserving it is becoming something of a science of itself. Sounds kinda daft, but it's true, and it's going to become a big problem in the not-too-distant future.
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    that we ****ed up, really, the amount off war, green house affect on the word

    it be hard for technology to have real big adavenment in our time,faster net, flying car
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    (Original post by robinson999)
    that we ****ed up, really, the amount off war, green house affect on the word
    :shock:


    The future looks bright Rob. :lc:
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    (Original post by urbandervish)
    :shock:


    The future looks bright Rob. :lc:
    lol, indeed
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    Yeah I reckon that in 100 years or so, A-Level history is gonna be about as respected as Media Studies is now...If we even have A-Levels any more.
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    (Original post by SuperSam_Fantastiche)
    Yeah I reckon that in 100 years or so, A-Level history is gonna be about as respected as Media Studies is now...If we even have A-Levels any more.
    There are still hundreds of different takes on everything that happens in the world, everybody has a different opinion and it's hard enough now to make up your mind what happened. Let alone when you're so disconnected in the future.
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    Some good points, but digital media can be more permanent than written information. Letters and books fade over time, binary on a disc does not. Discs are harder wearing than paper too, which means that anything put aside (such as in time capsules) will be intact in the future.

    While there is different opinions, and views about our world today, surely that is better than having no opinions and views of years gone by? When looking back thousands of years, and finding tools such as primitive axe heads and spears, surely we can only make an educated guess as to what they would be used for?
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    (Original post by SillyFencer)
    Some good points, but digital media can be more permanent than written information. Letters and books fade over time, binary on a disc does not. Discs are harder wearing than paper too, which means that anything put aside (such as in time capsules) will be intact in the future.

    While there is different opinions, and views about our world today, surely that is better than having no opinions and views of years gone by? When looking back thousands of years, and finding tools such as primitive axe heads and spears, surely we can only make an educated guess as to what they would be used for?
    Diachronically, we could also say in the same light that an ancient Greek, upon finding an electronic calculator, would make an "educated guess."
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    (Original post by SillyFencer)
    Some good points, but digital media can be more permanent than written information. Letters and books fade over time, binary on a disc does not. Discs are harder wearing than paper too, which means that anything put aside (such as in time capsules) will be intact in the future.

    While there is different opinions, and views about our world today, surely that is better than having no opinions and views of years gone by? When looking back thousands of years, and finding tools such as primitive axe heads and spears, surely we can only make an educated guess as to what they would be used for?
    Yes, while it can be more permanent physically, often the technology to decode and interpret the data is lost; take 3.5" floppies for examples.. how many new computers come with one of these? Now imagine a thousand years from now.. yes there will be the odd reader stored in a research department or museum somewhere but chances are, if you find a floppy disk you're not going to be able to access the information on it very easily.

    And of course, this is only if the effort is made to have it stored in the first place; hard drives fail and businesses close/change hands - there's no guarantee that the average person's blog will survive any of these.
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    They won't necessarily have it any easier, simply because the nature of being a historian will change. We have a fixed concept of what it means to be a historian - fair enough for our present conditions, but that doesn't mean historians of the future will think like that. The records of data almost certainly will make recalling the crucial points so much easier, but as a result I reckon there's every chance that historiography will take emotions and ethics much more into consideration. This will mean straying into the field of psychology quite a bit, but it's not as if historians don't already do this, it's just that it could play a much bigger role.
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    I don't think historians are going to have it easier - being an historian is about taking in a wide range of information and evaluating evidence and arriving at a conclusion about why a series of events led to another - yes things are better recorded, but they're also ewasily corrupted or lost.

    I do worry, however, that archaeologists are going to find themselves out of a job
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    Historians will have it harder simply because of the increasing amounts of evidence that survives. The closer you get to "now", the more evidence there is to evaluate. Case in point: medieval history dissertation might have 20 or so primary sources. My 19th century one has over 600. A friend of mine, who wrote his about Blair's election, had over 5,000.

    You're moving away from History and into statistics; History of the old school will no longer be as viable about the 20th/21st century because of the amount that will survive.
 
 
 
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