a16z Podcast

Preserving Digital History: How to Close the Web’s ‘Memory Hole’

Brewster Kahle, Sam Williams, Alex Pruden, and Zoran Basich

Posted July 13, 2020

More than 98% of the information on the web is lost within 20 years, and huge gaps exist in our digital and cultural history. Zoran Basich and Alex Pruden of a16z talk to Brewster Kahle and Sam Williams, who are using different approaches to attack this problem. Kahle cofounded the Internet Archive, which is well known for creating the Wayback Machine that crawls a billion URLs every day. Williams cofounded Arweave, a company that uses decentralized crypto networks to store information forever.

For both of them, this issue has implications that go far beyond just data storage. It touches on issues of censorship, government manipulation of information, and how historical context is necessary for well-functioning societies. They also discuss how decentralized models offer the promise of building a next-generation web that works better for users.