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Book encodes modern culture into binary patterns as time capsule for the future

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skor codex
skor codex

A millennium from now, a massive amount of today's digital data may have vanished or become unreadable, so a collective of artists in the Netherlands is trying to ensure that modern culture is preserved until then. The collective, La Société Anonyme, has created a book called The SKOR Codex, which contains encoded sound recordings, images, and diagrams that can be converted back into usable digital information. Like the golden record NASA put aboard its Voyager space probe, the codex includes symbolic instructions on how it should be read — though, because it's encoded in binary, it'll have to be converted before playback.

Built to last for 1,000 years

Each copy of The SKOR Codex is built to last for around 1,000 or more years, and only eight copies are being made. Today, the book's fifth copy is being given away to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. Three other copies have been given away since the book's creation in 2012, while its first copy remains at SKOR (the Foundation for Art and Public Domain), which commissioned the book's creation from La Société Anonyme. Though the codex is being officially gifted to Berners-Lee today, it has actually been on display at the Open Data Institute — which he co-founded — for nearly a year now.

The goal is to see each of the eight copies housed in a different location across the planet, where they'll hopefully be of use to humans or other intelligent life forms a millennium from now. It isn't meant to encompass the totality of culture, however. La Société Anonyme says that it focuses on modern European culture, particularly that around SKOR itself. It also includes greetings in four languages, various pieces of artwork, and photographs of bikes, desks, and a fax machine. Despite its local focus though, La Société Anonyme says that the codex isn't meant to be a tool for self-preservation, but instead a time capsule aimed toward the future.