At a future tech event about 12 years ago, some speaker predicted within a decade Moore's Law would make it possible to pack your whole life on one digital card that fit in your pocket.
He didn't just mean all your papers and email, or even all music and photos. He literally meant your entire conscious experience, a continuous stream of everything seen or heard in real life or online, captured and carried in one device.
My first thought in that pre-Google era was how-in-heck would one organize such a sea of data? A card filled with my entire experience would be pretty darn useless if it was as big a moshpit as my desk. And even if I could filter for relevance, I can't imagine wanting to rewind that much.
Well, fast-forward us back to the future, but here is a story about a product that sounds spookily similar, arriving just as predicted, about a decade later.
Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch reported this month on "LIfe Recorders"...
"Imagine a small device that you wear on a necklace that takes photos every few seconds of whatever is around you, and records sound all day long. It has GPS and the ability to wirelessly upload the data to the cloud, where everything is date/time and geo stamped and the sound files are automatically transcribed and indexed. Photos of people, of course, would be automatically identified and tagged as well.
Imagine an entire lifetime recorded and searchable. Imagine if you could scroll and search through the lives of your ancestors.
... a ten year old Microsoft project called SenseCam is just such a device. It’s clunky today... but a true life recorder that isn’t a fashion tragedy isn’t that far away..."
Arrington then asks, "Would you use it?" and says he probably would.
Not me. No siree. Not in this century.
may seem like maximum irony for an admitted info-holic who is always buried in
data and frequently scattered about how things are filed. But I already
process far more than I can actually use, thank you. I don't need or
want to save an unfiltered stream of my entire experience. That is why
Mother Nature invented forgetting.
For things I need to know, I think I have a pretty nifty alter-brain already. Between Google tools for sourcing, RSS feeds for tracking trends, and desktop tools like EverNote for sifting my digital notebooks, I can pretty much learn whatever I wish, past, present, or breaking news, and tag each snippet and image I save for speedy retrieval later.
Whatever comes out of that batching then neatly fits on a stick that is already filtered for current relevance. That is as about as far as I think my aging synapses need to go digital.
So even if given a chance to hang a third eye on my chest, I think I will pass. I'd rather chunk the contents of my cortex, stack it on a stick, and keep that in my pocket instead.
Click on the end link to read Michael's piece, see his sources, and note how his readers voted, here at TechCrunch.