Ever since the creation of first software systems, such as life itself, something akin to evolving file formats has emerged, and they had taken very specific shapes, for example, the fact that people often use very specific sequences of symbols like curly braces (01111011 and 01111101) to group larger chunks of code in most programming languages, is quite arbitrary.
The fact that life in DNA often uses very specific sequences (such as AUG .. TAG) as start and stop codons to group proteins may also be quite arbitrary.
However, shapes do change. For example, over the recent years, the use of curly braces to represent data records, such as:
had become more popular than angle brackets (00111100 and 00111110) with a forward slash (00101111):
On a higher level, structures had also evolved. Every version of software usually defines its own new format version. For example, every new version of Microsoft Excel may define slightly different file format, that supports more features. Today, when the world moved towards API-driven data exchange, we see this evolution in terms of the changes of API schemas. While each application has its unique functions, at the time of writing, most APIs use the curly braces to represent records within them, and a utilize a higher level standards of organization, such as REST (Representational State Transfer), and OpenAPI (aka Swagger) specifically, enabling to create generic clients.
For the sake of interoperability, people tend to choose to comply with the standards, and the data written in the previous standards becomes somewhat Formats and Lifeobsolete. However, from the scientific (archeological) perspective, much like the text written in languages of other cultures, the format and the very specific shape that the data comes in, carries the information about the circumstances and the nature (the way of thinking) of the information sources that created them. They are the cultural and technological legacy, which, ideally, is left functional, accessible and usable, rather than unusable. Much like most of you would like our biological brain be preserved in functional and accessible form with a non-destructive mind upload process, rather than a destructive one.
This is the direction which I've been working on lately, and have quite exciting results to share some time in the near future, which, surprisingly are as simple and challenging, as finding the winning strategy in the game of placing pennies on table. :)
Hint: seeing beyond patterns.