The Metropolitan Museum’s new Greek and Roman section is a revelation. When looking at the work you are deeply impressed with the power of the classical forms. But the other thing you learn is the sculpture, that today is simple white marble, was painted to simulate human appearance. The effects of time have uncovered the classic form in the work.
I wonder how the digital artifacts are our time will be viewed in 2,000 years. Presuming the file formats can be properly decoded, time will have had no effect on them. Color won’t fade, text will be just as readable, layouts will be intact. No noses lost, no missing arms, no papyrus scrolls with faded writing. The digital will appear dated by language, hairstyles, turns of phrase and clothing. But the viewable artifact will appear exactly the same in 2,000 years, or for that matter in 1,000,000 years.