Can we build a shared future without a shared past?

As deep fake technologies “improve”, they now have the ability to manipulate the past as well as the future. We can no longer be sure that a historical document, photograph or even video footage has not been manipulated to change history (in ways not even Orwell’s Big Brother could have imagined).

Case in point, here is an example of history being re-scripted using Nixon as the re-writer of his own chapter in time:

Eventually, no historical “evidence” will be able to stand the test of time and the march of technological “improvements” As such, it is not implausible that future generations will question every historical fact we take for granted today.

Nothing will be beyond question. Did the holocaust of WWII really play out the way we were taught in school? Was Pol Pot really that bad? Did the Rwandan genocide really happen in the happy go lucky 1990’s? Deep faked history will allow future humans to question the unquestionable and re-write our perspective according to the whims of the current “thought leaders” (or thought police, depending on whether they find themselves living  in free or totalitarian societies). We know, of course, that history is already written and re-written by the current victors and the currently in charge. Deep fakes just make that erasing of the truth that much easier for the demagogues of the day.

Already, the only truth, the only real point in time we, as individuals can be even relatively sure of is the lived now.

The past is a foreign country that erases itself behind us. The future is an unknowable land.

Now, when history becomes as mysterious and fluid as the future, and only the endless, personal, NOW makes any sense at all, what becomes of society?

What becomes of a civilization completely untethered from time and perspective?

How can a community build a shared future without a shared past?

How can we have clear foresight without hindsight to guide us?

Surely we be doomed to repeat our most miserable mistakes if we cannot remember them?

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