A thought experiment that’s been on my mind lately is this idea of ephemeral data. Imagine a computer sending a message to another computer and then immediately deleting it. This message then gets sent from computer to computer without actually getting saved down anywhere. It doesn’t have a permanent home and just hops from machine to machine. If that computer shuts down before the message is passed on then it’s lost forever. Only by being on a machine when it receives a message do you get to see it — otherwise it keeps going along on its infinite journey. I like to think of this as information that only exists in wires and is constantly crossing the world at the speed of light.

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