What to do about it
The Global Seed Vault in Svalbard (a small island in the Arctic) is a secure bank for the future of the world. It holds duplicate samples — that is, spare copies — of seeds held in gene banks worldwide. The seed vault provides insurance in the event of large-scale regional or global crises.
If a nuclear winter, say, were to wipe out all the crops on the planet, future generations could reboot the agricultural system by hoofing it out to Svalbard.
I propose that we need to have a similar backup security plan for the human knowledge that underlies the Internet.
I’m not suggesting something like the Way Back Machine, which takes snapshots of websites through time. I’m instead talking about simple instructions, burned onto physical media, for how to generate electricity, how to build a computer, how to build a router and how to reconstitute the Internet from basic principles.
The Web appears to be the single most important technology that has ever been invented. We have been the generation lucky enough to witness its inception, and we are now the ones responsible for its protection.