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Legacy

5 March 2013

Trawling through the old playlists on my iPod as I worked today makes me wonder who I used to be.

Don’t get me wrong — by the time I bought this particular iDevice in North Carolina, I had mostly abandoned my late-teens/early-20s shitty taste in music. It’s not like there’s tons of 2Unlimited or the Only The Strong soundtrack clogging up the playlists (two albums that were so wrong, but I have no sense of shame, so I’ll admit to once owning and playing the hell out of both). It’s more the order of the admittedly OK-to-rather-good music in some of these playlists.

What made me think Orange 9mm needed to be followed up by Tomoyasu Hotei? How exactly does Rob Dougan segue nicely into The Misfits?

That got me thinking of a problem that wouldn’t have existed even 10 or 15 years ago — a time when, unless I horribly misjudge my audience, we were all alive.

Here’s the problem: if someone got hold of one of your devices — your iPod, your smartphone, your digital camera (which for some people are all the same thing) — what would they extrapolate about your character? What would that device tell them about who you are?

I’ll go a step further. What if, after we’ve long nuked ourselves into disfigured corpses, a future civilization came across a box of discarded iPhones and Samsung Galaxy SIII’s? Say they were able to get them up and working and pull the data off of them — what would the information they find, the pictures, the music, the silly downloaded apps, tell them about us as a society?

We’re a technically advanced society, so much so that most of us have a portal to all the human information thus far collected either in our hand or our pocket right now. But would our mythical future society see that? Or would they look down on us because we seemed to spend all our time playing Angry Birds and Words With Friends?

I realize it’s a moot point, as no iPhone will survive beyond three years anyway (I say that as a fan of the iPhone, mind you). So I guess what I’m asking is less about what we have on our devices. It’s more about how future societies will see us as we are right now — will they think we’re reasonably enlightened, or will they shake their heads at the horribly backwards man-apes who have nothing better to do than post pictures of their lunch on Instagram?

I say, why not fuck with those smug future-jerks? Why not go out there and make something, something cool that you wouldn’t mind being remembered for? Sure, there’s the excuse of “not enough time,” but if you work at it, you’ll find time. So why not start building a legacy today?

And just to keep my average question-train on the tracks, what’s the most embarrasing thing someone would find on your phone right now if they got it away from you before you had time to delete or hid the offending evidence? For me, most likely, it’s the fact that I’ve saved multiple goofy meme pictures from the Internet.

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See? Told you.

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