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IBM Patents Idea of Making Your Data Crappier Over Time

By - Source: USPTO | B 131 comments

Digital documents have, in IBM's view, a notable disadvantage. If the data is not corrupted, the data remains the same for as long as it exists. However, there is now an idea how to change that.

IBM refers to this particular invention as an "aging file system" that simulates a natural aging process to documents printed on paper. For example this aging process could be automatically applied to .doc, .jpg or .gif files, a patent filing states. According to IBM, there is a need for a new kind of filing system that "automatically and selectively ages files contained therein such that the files themselves are caused to age with time and are not maintained in their originally stored state." IBM even says that "there is a need to provide such an aging function to apply automatically to all files stored on the filing system without requiring a continuing user monitoring effort."

Imagine your surprise when, a couple decades from now, you see your digital pictures that have been automatically exposed to an artificial aging process and now deliver only a fraction of the quality they once did. We wonder, if that aging process could also apply UV, water and fire damage to a statistically correct portion of your image data and documents. Imagine facing a tax audit a few years from now and having to tell the IRS that your documents have been aged automatically and were lost due to a statistical fire. Brilliant!

Let's not stop here and imagine the Library of Congress a few thousand years from now in the same light as the ancient library of Alexandria. I wonder if IBM could find ways to automatically decompose digital files?

You can find the details of the invention in detail here. And yes, IBM appears to be completely serious about this one and we hear that the company may already be in negotiations to sell it in the next wholesale package to Google.

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Top Comments
  • 34 Hide
    goatsetung , November 25, 2011 12:15 AM
    There MUST be something more to this, right?
  • 32 Hide
    benikens , November 25, 2011 12:11 AM
    Why? Like seriously, who thinks of that.
  • 31 Hide
    AbdullahG , November 25, 2011 12:18 AM
    I swear if they actually apply this idea to computers and data (if they find a way to do so), I'm going to their headquarters and pissing on Palmisano's desk.

    Why are such ideas even patented? I know they haven't developed methods to do this, but why even think of patenting it? Just to have it? What benefit would virtual aging on personal data most people would prefer in their original state bring?

Other Comments
  • 32 Hide
    benikens , November 25, 2011 12:11 AM
    Why? Like seriously, who thinks of that.
  • 34 Hide
    goatsetung , November 25, 2011 12:15 AM
    There MUST be something more to this, right?
  • 24 Hide
    ewood , November 25, 2011 12:16 AM
    its gotta be a joke. right?
  • 31 Hide
    AbdullahG , November 25, 2011 12:18 AM
    I swear if they actually apply this idea to computers and data (if they find a way to do so), I'm going to their headquarters and pissing on Palmisano's desk.

    Why are such ideas even patented? I know they haven't developed methods to do this, but why even think of patenting it? Just to have it? What benefit would virtual aging on personal data most people would prefer in their original state bring?

  • 28 Hide
    pythy , November 25, 2011 12:19 AM
    This has got to be to stupidest thing I've ever heard........ The reason for having digital documents is so that they can be preserved in their original condition, not so that they can be ruined a few decades later like their paper counterparts. What is IBM thinking??
    IBM = I'm Being Mental
  • 19 Hide
    pent5ht , November 25, 2011 12:21 AM
    Yeah that's real smart.............Let's go back in time...........*FACE PALM*
  • 23 Hide
    PrvtChurch , November 25, 2011 12:21 AM
    this is the STUPIDEST IDEA IN THE HISTORY OF EVER!
  • 21 Hide
    drakepandor , November 25, 2011 12:32 AM
    I can only hope that the purpose of this patent is to prevent anyone from doing anything like this and suing the **** out of them if they do.
  • 7 Hide
    stalker7d7 , November 25, 2011 12:33 AM
    The only thing I can get out of this is to reduce the hard drive space being used by older files... But still, wtf? There is no way this can have any benefit.
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2011 12:36 AM
    Let's just return to analog computers altogether and be done with it.
  • 22 Hide
    legacy7955 , November 25, 2011 12:37 AM
    This sounds like just the technology for the big white collar criminals that run major banks, the Fed, business, and gov't. What a crock.
  • 8 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2011 12:38 AM
    Huh! Biodegradeable data... What's next?
  • 5 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , November 25, 2011 12:40 AM
    so are you saying this patent (idea) actually passed? so any idea anyone has can be patented? even if the have not actually been able to produce the idea a s a prototype?
  • 7 Hide
    wiyosaya , November 25, 2011 12:42 AM
    Gotta echo other comments, here, too. This is the STUPIDEST thing I have ever heard of. Really, someone at IBM got paid for this? You gotta be kidding me.
  • 13 Hide
    yikuso , November 25, 2011 12:43 AM
    Oh IBM...you just spent another point on a wrong tech tree
  • 18 Hide
    cumi2k4 , November 25, 2011 12:44 AM
    while we're at it, why not patenting digital fire/flood/earthquake disaster to wipe all the data? Therefore forcing people to have MORE data redundancy....$$$$$ ca ching!

    Staff: Boss, we've lost our server due to flood...
    Boss: Thank God we made backup in other country. Now just restore that data and we're good to go, right?
    Staff: Nope, the backup also got wipe with digital fire...it's all gone
    Boss: !@#$%^&*(!)!!!
  • 23 Hide
    ltdementhial , November 25, 2011 12:46 AM
    comon guys who do you preffer to pantet this IBM or apple...
  • 14 Hide
    kastraelie , November 25, 2011 12:49 AM
    Patents are often pieces in a much larger puzzle, but I don't think the idea is retarded by itself.

    The reporting for this article is...a shame...because it is dripping with bias. Think about it--there are millions of gigabytes of data stored indefinitely on various cloud servers that will never ever be opened by anyone ever again. While some free services (think image hosting) just deal with this issue by deleting pictures that haven't been viewed in the past 5 years, this patent basically shrinks the size of said files to increase available storage space while keeping the data in at least ARCHIVAL quality.

    The headline is catchy, but retarded, as the purpose is not to intentionally make the data look bad. It is just an innovative way to compress unused files instead of deleting them outright.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , November 25, 2011 12:50 AM
    Is this a joke? Something like "el mundo today" news?

    Maybe it is useful in a romantic point of view for pictures or something like that, like today's B&W movies or so...anyway, a waste of time.
  • 5 Hide
    Wamphryi , November 25, 2011 12:50 AM
    I suspect that the reasoning behind this....idea is to create a virtual equivalent of a process that used to apply to the media that digital has now replaced. Before digital media one had to purchase records, tapes and books all of which would age and deteriorate over time. This of course means that people had to purchase fresh media down the track to restore quality. Of course now when someone purchases a song for instance it will always play at its original quality as long as the data is not corrupted as the article states. Thus there is no need to repurchase for life in theory. That is the only reason I can see as to why this technology would be made. I cant see it being popular with the masses.
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