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The Many Different Forms Of Data Recovery


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Data recovery is an important part of our modern world, with computers facilitating the vast majority of our lives on the internet and off. The loss of personal data and customer records would be catastrophic for any corporation, and so data recovery software is a popular kind of insurance for many. But, more broadly speaking, data recovery or memory space itself has been a favorite subject of science fiction, with many plots revolving around the uncanny sensation that we are nothing more than our memories - which, in a perfectly digitized world, would be nothing but easily copied bits of data!

Fascinating as these considerations are, for an even more explosive idea all you have to do is blend them with old-fashioned notions of clairvoyance and dj vu. First coined by New Age spiritualist P.M.H. Atwater (ne Phyllis Johnston), future memory is conceived of as the phenomenon whereby one can know the future.

With plain old prophetic foresight now repackaged in 21st Century techno-speak, science fiction writers are busy exploring the nexus between man and machine, self and other, reality and virtual reality. The gist of it all is pregnant with implication: if we are nothing but our memories; if our memories are but bits of data; if technological innovation can record these bits the same way it manipulates all other information; then what does it mean to be oneself?

Philip K. Dick touched on these very questions in his short story "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Adapted into a kind of futuristic movie noir under the title of Blade Runner, the theme focuses on just what it means to be human in a world where very humanlike androids can be made.

Another film adapted from a Dick short is Total Recall, involving a federal agent's created memories. More recently, the Leonardo Dicaprio vehicle Deception also explored the same what-if scenarios: what if thoughts could be planted? Never mind data recovery; seems like technological innovation will one day create the need for deliberate data loss! And indeed, there are any number of science fiction stories devoted to that topic, too...
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