A Brief History Of Data Storage

For millennia, humans have known things. Pretty quickly, we started writing them down; our brains aren’t particularly good at storing all the things we know reliably, and we needed something more durable. A long time ago, ‘writing things down’ looked like clay tablets with cuneiform on them, and affairs have only got more complicated from there. Nowadays, we try and write things down so that computers can understand them too, and that’s given us a bewildering array of options - HDDs, SSDs, magnetic tape storage and so much more. In this talk, we’re going to take a look at the history of writing things down, and discuss why some methods have worked better than others. We’re going to talk about why writing things down for humans is different than doing it for a computer, and why that makes it difficult to try and do both at the same time (this is what code is). Finally, we’ll take a look at what the state-of-the-art is today for keeping data safe, and what the future might hold. This talk has no prerequisites, although a fondness for weird facts will certainly enhance the experience.