Every person has a unique story, a poignant painting of experience, pain, joy, heartbreak, failure and success. Logically, and in spite of every experience being unique, most everyday people won’t be remembered for long once they die. This very concept is imprinted upon us from the moment we enter the world, seen in books, movies and television, and rife in societal expectation constantly reaffirming that unless an individual makes a significant impact through some social, cultural, philanthropic or innovative contribution, they’ll most likely be forgotten. In fact, there’s a whole phobia, athazagoraphobia, dedicated to the very fear of being forgotten. —
With this in mind, how can a person’s legacy actually be preserved? It’s a problem humanity has been struggling to solve since we progressed past our hunter/gatherer, nomadic lifestyles, and finally, that solution may be on the horizon.
Enter NotForgotten, a company using a combination of personal genealogy records, the WorldCat and blockchain technology to preserve users’ memories in digital time capsules for up to 300 years. Imagine: it’s 2169, your great-great-great grandkids start a search for the records of their ancestors and come across some very old blockchain and library records containing information about the bequeather’s NotForgotten time capsule. They access the video through the library and are greeted by your face on video, telling them about the times you lived in and the life you’ve lived.
Such a window into the past has, until now, remained out of reach for the everyday person.
“We wanted to give people a way to not only preserve their memory for future generations to enjoy, but to provide an accurate portrayal for future historians of what life is really like in the times we live in,” says Adrienne Liebenberg, Co-Founder of NotForgotten. “Up until now, unless an individual has made a significant impact on society or the world we live in, there’s few methods of preserving your memory past personal written records, handed down from generation to generation. Now we’ve found a way.”
NotForgotten gives users the ability to capture stories, significant life events and journal about their experiences through their application interface. The data is then securely stored using a combination of blockchain technology, personal genealogy records and WorldCat, a global catalogue library, for storage options of 50, 150 and 300 years.
“Anyone can take a video, but preserving it and properly storing it long-term so it can be easily found in 300 years is the real challenge,” says Liebenberg. “We wanted to put together the infrastructure to create a digital time capsule service with true longevity. So we assembled a team of genealogists, archivists, librarians blockchain experts and media technologists who leveraged current technologies to build our groundbreaking interface and enable the easy retrieval of these files by future generations.”
The original idea for NotForgotten was conceived over dinner one night. The co-founders Adrienne Liebenberg and Paul Waterman were talking about Paul’s father. Paul spoke emotionally about how his father died when he was a young boy, stating “I have only a few pictures of him, and no real memories. To be able to hear his voice, see his face in motion, to understand his story and who he was from a personal standpoint… that would have been incredible.”
From then on the pair became obsessed with building a solution to enable videos and data to survive for hundreds of years, “We realized that everyone takes and keeps videos, but no one knows how to really save them. Data rots, and the ravages of time destroy most media. We had to find a solution to properly store and save this data. We wanted to become the best story-savers in the world and create a library of human experience.”
The pair did just that and NotForgotten was born, backed by an enduring Digital Preservation Trust and Guarantee Fund to ensure the time capsules would be taken care of, both physically and financially, for centuries to come. Physical data security was at the forefront of development, each video is copied on two types of media and placed in two secure data vaults in two separate locations across the United States, for maximum security and to combat data rot.
Liebenberg also filed to have NotForgotten classified as a “special library” with the global library co-operative with the purpose of recording the NotForgotten time capsules using the international library cataloguing system as well as ensuring the library of time capsules becomes a public resource that can be accessed over the coming centuries.
The potential impact of this technology is wide-spread, and not only for personal users. Digital time capsules can not only be used to forge connections between the future and the present, or the present and the past - depending on which way you look at it - but also to provide a rich resource for historians of the future, through providing an accurate, time-stamped glimpse into life at a certain time and place.
The co-founders also took future artificial intelligence opportunities into account, with Liebenberg stating, “the technology we use has a leading integrated artificial intelligence solution which when we scale our library will be deployed to create additional knowledge and learning about humans at a time and place in history - analyzing what made them happy, how they interpreted major events, and how times have changed.”
Liebenberg continues, “Imagine a historian accessing the NotForgotten archives in the future, to not only be presented with a wealth of knowledge generated by AI, but to also be able to pinpoint and find supporting videos and data to get a glimpse of what life was like up to 300 years in the past. Even now, this very idea is almost unbelievable, but with NotForgotten, it’s possible.”
Release ID: 88925794