Thomas Edison's Greatest Uninvented Invention

In the last years of his life, Thomas Edison dreamed of a machine that could recapture the voices of history’s past headliners. He worked from the assumption that because energy never ceases, the energy of all those voices were still in the cosmos able somehow to be tapped. Think of it — the actual spoken words of Moses…Alexander…Jesus…Caesar…Michelangelo…Mozart…Napoleon…Lincoln.

Edison died too soon, but behold his uninvented invention is now with us. In fact it is so much with us, we can hardly escape it. The sounds of everything we have ever spoken, shouted, whispered or cooed. It’s called “The Cloud” and it is that mind-bending-assembly of soundbite from forever!!

Running for office…? Proposing to a loved one…? Giving advice to your children…? Speaking at the UN…? My friends, chances are everything and anything you have ever uttered in Cyberspace is still out there! Hovering somewhere in digital arrogance ready to haunt you for the rest of your natural life.

Mr Edison — lucky for you, you died too soon!

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  • Not sure to which cloud you are referring. If it is the Microsoft or Apple cloud, there is still the problem about that someone had to input it into a computer some time after about 1988. We can scan a book from 1588 if the paper doesn't fall apart, but you noted the difficulty in scanning voices from the past.*

    Maybe this is similar to one of the Nova shows on quantum mechanics, where they claim there is a parallel universe, and Scottie actually can beam you up. Or like Futurama, while set in 3000, has museums filled with essentially 1999 relics.

    *If a tree falls, and there isn't an mpeg recorder in the forest, does it make a sound?

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack ~ The "cloud" is that vast storage of internet exchanges that some carries hold on to iun to perpetuity.. God save us all!!!

  • In reply to Jack Spatafora:

    Apparently we were talking about the same cloud,or that all tweets are going to the Library of Congress.

    It is still up in the air whether the Stored Communications Act applies to, say, Google archiving everything it indexes, and not just the index.

    Nonetheless, I don't think people tweeted at the time of Moses, although some of what he said apparently got recorded centuries later by Ezra the Scribe.

  • In reply to jack:

    Not Ezra,,,,I think Tom was thinking more of the raw energy of sound floating in the cosmos...maybe it's a good thing he died before he tried to pull this one off!

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