Every now and then, I look to see how the MyLifeBits project is progressing. The goal of the project is for people to be able to record every aspect of their lives to searchable computer files. Every piece of paper you handle, bills, cards, junk mail. Every e-mail. Every phone conversation. Every blog post. Every photo, movie and song. Everything. Even to the point of having video and audio recordings of your daily life stored to terabytes of hard drive space. Your entire life, digitized, tagged, indexed, and archived forever.
Why? Probably because we can. The technology is there, and space is cheap. The limiting factors are having the ability to search such a large quantity of data, and eventual obsolescence of data formats. Just you try to open that old Amiga text file now, you know, the one on the 5.25 floppy disk! It is estimated that data becomes obsolete after about ten years, and that is if you pick your formats carefully. Otherwise, you need to continually convert your data to the latest/greatest format.
Make all the Big Brother jokes you like, but if this technology takes off, it could change personal and social relations Significantly. Imagine these scenarios:
An officer arrives on the scene of an accident, and the five or six people each whip out their pocket pc and playback the audio/video of the events leading up to the accident from their own perspectives.
Instead of saying “I told you so!” or “I never said that!” you could play back the conversation.
Ask your computer “What was that red wine I had on vacation in Chile six years ago?” or “What was my favorite song in 1999?”
Best of all, when you die, hand off the data to your heirs. then they can see what kind of person you really were…