Imagine if our period of history never existed. This fear could be a reality unless our digital information – from tweets to emails – is preserved, a top internet pioneer has warned.
Google vice-president Vint Cerf, said future historians looking to study the 21st century will find an "information black hole" because the programs needed to view our digital files will soon become be obsolete.
Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting on Thursday, Cerf argued the world needed "digital vellum" – a way to preserve digital information over a long period of time so that in the future, our files will be readable.
"The emails, the tweets, and all the other things that we take for granted today may have evaporated into thin air because nobody preserved them," Cerf told delegates.