Archives of the Future

The short life span of storage hardware reverses our relationship with primary sources. On average, SSDs under stress hold data for about 7 years, HDDs up to around 30 years, and optical discs 100 to 200 years under climate-controlled conditions only. Other than bit rot, future researchers of the 2010s and 2020s risk losing access […]

Big Data Energetics

The data centers that house big data and their attendant network infrastructure are energy guzzlers that consume anywhere between 1% to 5% of the world’s electricity, depending on how one calculates the estimate. In non-digital contexts, the carving of woodblocks, mass printing, and climate-controlled archives consumed energy, but humanists do not traditionally associate our research […]

Cultural Analytics

Due to big data’s volume and variety, coding proficiency and machine learning tools become part and parcel of the new humanities. Every week 28 billion photos are uploaded to Google Photos. YouTube is a repository of an estimated 95,000 years of video. Cultural analytics is a necessity for navigating binary large objects of this large scale. Big Data Studies […]

Virtuality and Time

The rapid digital transformation of society has blurred the boundaries between the virtual and the physical. The photorealistic objects that appear in an Ikea catalog are computer-generated imagery. Naver’s ultra-high resolution 3D rendering of Seoul uses photogrammetry to stitch together 25,000 aerial photos. Microsoft Flight Simulator creates machine learning-generated photorealistic virtual worlds from 2.5 petabytes of Bing satellite […]