The SAFE Network’s inspiration from nature is a significant aspect that initially drew my attention to this project years ago. However, the ever-growing nature of the data in the network does seem to be an exception to that, which (to my understanding) runs counter to other patterns we observe in nature. I think this merits consideration, and that we should welcome critical eyes—from both supporters and detractors. (I think even detractors can add positive value to this community and the SAFE project.) As a daily reader and member of this forum for over three years, I ask these questions as a supporter:
Regarding the principles and sustainability of not deleting data: Physicists still debate whether ‘information’ is ever really lost on a fundamental cosmic scale (i.e. are all past states of the universe theoretically derivable from its present state). However, I think the information stored in an autonomous network like SAFE might be more analogous to the information stored in DNA. And, certainly, DNA adds and loses information over time and over generations. One of my main draws to SAFE (and one of my main interests in general) is digital preservation—so I understand the desire for permanently preserved information. Yet, if a central component of biology is its ability to adapt and trim unneeded information over time, shouldn’t we ponder if SAFE (which takes much of its inspiration from biology) is contrary to one of biology’s fundamental characteristics?
(tl;dr: Does the SAFE Network’s unidirectional growth run contrary to biological evolutionary principles?)
Regarding the economic dependence on ever-increasing storage: Many in this community seem to share concerns about the current sustainability of the global economy. Indeed, it seems that many people in general are becoming interested in cryptocurrencies and decentralized projects largely because of their worries about the global economy. Although data storage capacity is increasing quickly now, and has been for decades, we have also had a relatively stable global economy during that time. In the event of a major economic downturn, there would seem to be significant risk that the pace of technological development might also be adversely affected (especially technology like storage, which relies on physical resources and growing economies). If the SAFE Network is seen, at least partly, as a defense against global economic risks, doesn’t it seem risky to make it so dependent on future technological/economic growth (growth that so many in communities like ours seem to doubt)?
(tl;dr: Does the SAFE Network’s economic viability depend on the stability and growth of the global economy?)
The success of the SAFE Network is very important to me, as I believe it is to most members here. Yet I do have to admit that these are two concerns I’ve had for awhile. Naturally, I hope that my worries are either based on misunderstandings, or that these issues will be solvable.