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Your Life On a Hard Drive 186

Posted by kdawson
from the 1.7-terabytes-and-nothing-on dept.
Iddo Genuth writes to point us to his The Future of Things blog, where he has put up a rumination on the idea of recording one's whole life, beginning with Vannevar Bush's 1945 "Memex" (from the same essay in which he envisioned digital photography and advanced electronic computers). This serves as introduction to an interview with Microsoft Research's Gordon Bell, arguably the first man to attempt recording (most of) his life. From TFoT: "If humans may be viewed as the sum total of their memories, then at our doorstep may be a life changing revolution: the ability to store one's entire life experiences on an accessible and easily searchable file. In this article, we examine this idea, as well as some of the problems involved in its application."
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Your Life On a Hard Drive

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @03:52PM (#16220485) Journal
    I don't like this idea at all. I commend them for tackling such a large endeavor but I wish their efforts were concentrated on something more helpful to society.

    When I experience something, it's a multitude of things. It's not just my five senses which can be recreated to within some threshold ... it's also the state of my mind at the time. That cannot be recreated. You can't show me a video of my first kiss and expect me to feel the same thing I felt back then. I dare say that my senses and state of mind are near infinite.

    I would view it and try to remember what I was like back then but I'd still be me now. I've still kissed ten or twenty other girls in passion. You could never put me back there and it's laughable to aim for that goal.

    I also believe that humans are dynamic beings and that we are more than "the sum total of our memories..." These may affect behavior but they do not necessarily define us.

    More importantly, I'm more intelligent now. Show me the video clip of me pulling a garden hose off a shelf in kindergarten and I'll wince as the sledge on top of it plummets off of the shelf and destroys my big toe. I'll watch it over and over and over again and dwell on how stupid I was. Or, I'll move on with my life.

    People who want to do this are possibly suffering from a legacy complex where they are worried about what mark they leave on the world. Maybe this will satisfy you and maybe you'll make your kids experience these but it's not going to change the facts--there's a low probability anyone but your offspring will remember you. Hell, I don't even know any generation prior to my grandparents and neither does history.

    Things happen to us--for better or for worse they happen. Let's experience them and move on. I don't dwell on pictures, I don't dwell on home videos, if you want memories of joyous occasions then record them but nobody wants to watch me go to work day after day.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I've still kissed ten or twenty other girls in passion.

      Mod -1, Liar.
    • by josquint (193951) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @03:56PM (#16220537) Homepage
      I've still kissed ten or twenty other girls in passion.

      C'mon this is ./ there's no way that's legit!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That cannot be recreated.

      Not for you, but if I cloned you, and raised you using the recording of your life so that everything was exactly the same, all five senses, would you clone have pulled the garden hose off the shelf without thinking about the sledgehammer? Would his first kiss have been exactly the same?

      it's also the state of my mind at the time.

      The deeper question here is whether the state of your mind is the sum of all of the inputs up to that instant. If you started over with a clone and fed it
      • C'mon guys. Are we still promoting behaviorism?? This is the age of cognitive science. The mind matters. We cannot treat the mind as a unchanging black box and simply map inputs to outputs. Inputs will have different consequences depending upon the state of mind/brain at that moment.

        However, there is a strong connection between the memory recollection and the context of the encoding event. Usually, it is true that there is better memory performance when the context at encoding and retrieval of a memory

    • and if (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rubycodez (864176)
      what if we could record your state of mind at the time too?
      • Re:and if (Score:5, Funny)

        by nojomofo (123944) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @04:12PM (#16220807) Homepage
        Then you'd be in a Kurt Vonnegut novel.
      • Ummm. If you could restore the mind's state at any given point, the current state would be lost.(unless it was recorded first). So if you injected your state of mind at, say, 7 years old; you would essentially be that five year old with any experiences past that unavailable ( in a 20,30,40 year old body as well), or at worst gone. Groovy. So then you restore your previuos state bringing you back to whtever 'NOW' was when you saved state prior to loading the "7_year_old_me.memx" state. Whatever you experienc
        • Re:and if (Score:4, Informative)

          by buswolley (591500) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @07:17PM (#16222769) Journal
          The brain is not the same for a seven year old and an adult. Children are not just mini-adults. There brains work differently, depend on different processes, employ different strategies. For example, a seven year old does not have mature frontal lobes which is important in accessing consequences. The Frontal lobes develop into early adulthood. But in your case..who knows..
          • by N Monkey (313423)

            The brain is not the same for a seven year old and an adult. Children are not just mini-adults. There brains work differently, depend on different processes, employ different strategies. For example, a seven year old does not have mature frontal lobes which is important in accessing consequences.

            I'd like to mod this up but the mod point cupboard is bare, so instead...

            Just to add to this, if Roger Penrose's theory is right ("The Emperor's New Mind"), then the brain relies on quantum level changes when m

            • by buswolley (591500)
              Ha! If he is right. Well that is a big question isn't it. Actually, I'm a fan, but I know that the quantum brain idea is not popular in the psychological sciences. (Oh and for anybody out here who claims psychology is not a science, then let me tell them that psychology had a shaky past but has emerged as a real science these last twenty years.) Thanks for your vote of confidence.
        • I could see some reasons why it would be useful. Suppose you made incremental backups of your mind -- for the same reason you make them of a filesystem: in case of damage.

          Suppose you suffered some great psychological trauma, something so severe that it rendered you unable to function normally in society. Rather than being institutionalized, or living a reduced quality of life, you could restore your mental and psychological state to how it existed at the time of the backup.

          I don't think you'd want to do it
        • by rubycodez (864176)
          might not work like that, could maybe re-experience the sensations and thoughts of a past time yet still be processing the real world. I'll predict this will be tried and be close enough that p0rn will be taken to the next level. oh yeah, and all other performance art.
      • by x2A (858210)
        Why obsess with holding onto the past? Got nothing worth looking forward to? Can that not be changed?

        • by rubycodez (864176)
          oh, you don't own any photographs? Anyway, the idea would be to let someone else experience something significant just as or close to how the original person experienced it. Heck, maybe this would end war and human brutality. or make for new entertainment and art forms.
      • by timeOday (582209)

        what if we could record your state of mind at the time too?

        We have no technology that might do that in the forseeable future, so it's a purely hypothetical question.

        I have learned for myself that recording information is vastly different than learning it. As I started to use things like a PDA and laptop, I used to hoarde information on my gizmos. Eventually I realized it was just a form of procrastination. I never felt pressure to internalize information because, hey, I would always have it at my fin

        • by rubycodez (864176)
          actually, there are technologies being experimented with right now for recording neural signals, interacting with neurons, mapping the brain....it's the next logical step to what we're doing now.
          • by timeOday (582209)
            But popping a handful of probes into the brain is a very far cry from recording and reproducing a full set of neural activations throughout the entire brain simultaneously. I doubt we'll see it in our lifetimes.
            • by rubycodez (864176)
              heh, I say 20 years tops. might even be used to inject thoughts into people's heads without their consent or knowledge.
    • Something more helpful to society?
      I disagree with you... I think that a tool like this would be tremendously helpful. Maybe not to society immediately, but think about being able to access someone's memories from even 50 years ago, or 100. Being able to look back on how things were is a great way to get a grasp on how things are, and how things will be.
      History repeats itself.
    • by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @09:00PM (#16223659) Homepage
      but I wish their efforts were concentrated on something more helpful to society.

      I REALLY wish people would stop saying things like this everytime a new scientific endeavor is underway. I mean, really, who the hell are you to judge what is more helpful to society? If you don't think people pursuing their OWN goals is helpful, then I HIGHLY recommend you watch James Burke's Connections series from the BBC because it will illustrate exactly how random human technological and societal development has been and what random quirks lead us to where we are now. So I applaud these guys. Who knows what future change this will inspire.

    • I don't like this idea at all. I commend them for tackling such a large endeavor but I wish their efforts were concentrated on something more helpful to society.

      You are missing the point. You seem to think that this is a bad idea just because no one will ever care about the data. Um, I'll strongly disagree with you. You even state that no one will want to watch you go to work every day.

      Let me give you an example. You walk to work every day. One day you are mugged and beaten up and everything removable on yo
      • One word telescreen. Sure if it's voluntary it would be fine, but how long would it remain voluntary? Remember our (U.S. citizen here) president just gave himself the power to tap our phones at his own discretion with no oversight except for blanket authorization of the program. The idea of a life hard drive in our current society gives me nightmares thinking of the possibilities. Hint if the British had, had this technology in 1776 you'd be living in the British commonwealth of the Americas and Franklin
  • by EVil Lawyer (947367) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @03:53PM (#16220505)
    "If humans may be viewed as the sum total of their memories..."

    "Humans" clearly aren't properly viewed as the sum total of their memories. First, there's an incongruity between the concept "human" and the concept "memory." Second, even if we ignore this incongruity, shouldn't it be "total of their experiences", not memories?

    • by kfg (145172) *
      . . . shouldn't it be "total of their experiences". . .

      . . .and maybe throw in a couple of opposable thumbs, just so, like, we can go do something else?

      Maybe this guy is the sum total of what he's done, but I am the sum total of what I am about to do.

      KFG
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RingDev (879105)
      I think that's what this project would prove. We are not the sum of things we experience, we are the sum of things we believe to have experienced. Our persona is much more dependant on our interpretation of events that it is on the actual events themselves. Memories is also a bad choice as our interpretations at any given point may help to shape our persona, but in the future, we may have no memory of that interpretation.

      Toss into that the whole nurture/nature argument, so genetic predisposition, physiologi
      • by x2A (858210)
        "we are the sum of things we believe to have experienced"

        Do you not think that your beliefs are formed by the things you experience? For example, somebody may be shaped by their belief that they experienced god speaking to them... but this is only because at an earlier age, they experienced being told by someone else about this 'god' idea. It's still experiences that shape you, even if you have to look back to previous experiences to understand why the latter experience shaped you in the way that it did.
  • by eln (21727) * on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @03:53PM (#16220513) Homepage
    As if watching other people's home videos isn't torture enough already...and those are supposedly the more interesting parts of their lives.

    Just imagine having to sit through your uncle's slide show documenting every second of his vacation, including the 5 minutes he spent standing in front of the mirror scratching his ass. No thanks.
    • by myspys (204685) *
      but.. you're missing the REAL point of this research

      real-life porn featuring your ex'es (or current girlfriend)!
      • real-life porn featuring your ex'es (or current girlfriend)!
        That wouldn't necessarily be a good thing. Some of those experiences I wish I could forget. Now, if I could get my hands on the recordings of other people's (say certain celebrities) sexual interactions, that would make this research worthwhile.
        • by Gilmoure (18428)
          There was this tequila incident, back in '88. No one should ever have to remember that.
        • by Tiger4 (840741)
          if I could get my hands on the recordings of other people's (say certain celebrities) sexual interactions

          Its been done. See the film Brainstorm. Can you say "religious experience"?. Hint: Natalie Wood doesn't make it.

    • by Bostik (92589)

      I'll top that - with a nightmare, no less. Imagine a recording of your life, edited and complete with a laugh-track.

      On pay-per-view.

    • by kabocox (199019)
      As if watching other people's home videos isn't torture enough already...and those are supposedly the more interesting parts of their lives.

      Just imagine having to sit through your uncle's slide show documenting every second of his vacation, including the 5 minutes he spent standing in front of the mirror scratching his ass. No thanks.


      Well, we could always ask to see the hottie cousin making out with random beach dude.
  • The Final Cut (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @03:58PM (#16220573) Homepage

    Reminds me of a movie I just saw called "Final Cut [slashdot.org]">The Final Cut with Robin Williams. In the movie he plays a "cutter". His job is to splice the full memories of people (who have had a chip implanted into their brains) into little films to play at their funerals. It was a very interesting movie.

    That said... what a waste of space. How much of my life will I spend watching TV. Good thing we might be able to record all that soon.

    • by MBCook (132727)

      OK, I TOALLY screwed up that link.

      The Final Cut [amazon.com]

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by nege (263655)
      "Good thing we might be able to record all that soon."

      Great, another reason for the *IAA's to sue me! :(
    • by Saxerman (253676) *
      My memory went back a bit further to a 95 movie called Strange Days [imdb.com] which I think did a much better job on the topic. Final Cut looked into the moral questions of memory recording, namely of having to decide to implant the chip at a young age before someone could actually decide if they wanted it, and then controlling who has access to those memories. Strange Days also looked at the dubious commercial entertainment industry that would spring up once we could record and sell our sense memories for others t
    • I was waiting for someone to mention The Final Cut. Very interesting work from Robin Williams. I have to say the opening scene is very haunting. It shows a boy going to the mirror in the bathroom to do his daily routine, and then he opens and closes the mirror and then he fast forwards several years, and that repeats until he is an old man and you see the gradual change in how he looks etc.

      That movie was the first to really cause me, when I saw it for the first time at 21 to really think deeply about the

    • Ah, you beat me to it. Yes, this is a great movie. Very thought provoking, like the best sci-fi is. Incidentally, here's the link you probably wanted: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364343/ [imdb.com]
  • I did this (Score:5, Funny)

    by Xaer0cool (700219) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @03:59PM (#16220603)
    I spent the first 50 years of my life recording, but now I decided to watch what I recorded... I'll be a hundred before I get to do anything except watch myself! But I'm just dying to see how it will end!
  • I have to admit, the idea is certainly cool, but there are some experiences that I would just as soon forget. Along with that, giving others the ability to catalog and disect my life as they wish isn't necessary a fun thought.

    I remember back some years ago when the occasional person would try to document their life or wear around a camera so that people could see what they were doing as they went through-out the day. The idea seemed cool, but I wouldn't want to be on the sending end of that data.

    If people c
  • In the Lois McMaster Bujold Miles Vorkosigan series (try http://www.dendarii.com/ [dendarii.com], or wiki her) there is a man with a "chip in his brain", an electronic memory device being used as memory augmentation. It ends up malfunctioning with terrible consequences (he's in charge of a rather charged political climate), but it's a great idea, being able to remember everything as if it happened, not even yesterday, but 30 seconds ago. Useful.
  • I think I saw this movie [imdb.com].
  • By proxy- it may prove easier to stand on the shoulders of giants if you can quickly learn from all the mistakes and ideas everyone on Earth has ever had. If you have a huge, collective database of every grain of human advancement or epiphany, our worldwide progress may explode- not to mention the drastic smoothening of your everyday life.
  • Memory != reality (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheWoozle (984500) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @04:03PM (#16220663)
    I can imagine that for most people, this would actually upset them.

    People's memories are colored by everything from their state of mind at the time to associations with other experiences (that may not even seem related).

    I think most people would be upset to find out just *how much* their cherished memory of an event differs from the actual thing as it was recorded.
    • by owlstead (636356)
      Yes, but fortunately I really did not kill that man. Does anyone here have any soap? I need to clean my hands. They seem dirty.
    • by kabocox (199019)
      I can imagine that for most people, this would actually upset them.

      People's memories are colored by everything from their state of mind at the time to associations with other experiences (that may not even seem related).

      I think most people would be upset to find out just *how much* their cherished memory of an event differs from the actual thing as it was recorded.


      There was a book that I read that I can't remember the title. The plot was about using worm holes to view what happened in the past. At first it
  • Old news (Score:5, Funny)

    by russotto (537200) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @04:03PM (#16220669) Journal
    Isn't the CIA doing this for all of us nowadays anyway?
    • by z0idberg (888892)
      To: requests@cia.gov
      from: z0idberg@woopwoopwoop.woop

      Subject: FOI request

      Hi,

      Could I request one copy of my life up until this point. DIVX format will be fine. Make sure you zip it up though cause I have a download limit that I need to keep an eye on (though you probably already knew that).

      kthx.

      z0idberg
  • by bunions (970377)
    From TFA

    10/98: Bell to Raj Reddy, "It's fine to scan and put my books on line. Don't worry about copyright stuff. Microsoft has lots of lawyers."

    gleh.

    Anyway, I think it's neat. I'd do it, sorta. The recording gear would be like shoes: they'd come off when I went home. Simply being able to say "Why'd Bill say/do that?" or "What was the license plate of that guy who parked next to me when I went into the safeway? I've got a big honking scratch on my car now" and go to the video and see would be be awesome


  • Assuming a world where people record themselves all day became a reality. A large part of the recording would I assume, be of the subject watching the earlier recordings...

    So you would have a recording of a person watching their recording... then let's say they watch that...


    Ok, yeah, other people would be watching the recording... so you would have recordings of *them* watching someone else's recording, and so on. Pretty soon, you'll have to get someone to get up and actually *do* something - and th
  • What is this going to do to inter-human relations? Are we going to become ultra politically correct knowing that everything we ever say and do may be recorded by someone else on their personal memex system? What about privacy issues? Is a thousand "Little Brothers" not just as bad as a "Big Brother"? As much as the technical hurdles of such a project appear to be daunting, they are nothing compared to the social implication of such a system becoming ubuiquitous. That said, I believe memex is coming and wil
  • Doing this would bring new meaning to the terms "Blue Screen Of Death" (death unseen coming from above), "Kernel Panic" (playing with things you shouldn't) and "ABEND" ("Hello Darwin Award!!").

    Soko
  • This is going to happen to different degrees via the internet. People are already storing information in blogs and social networking pages. How long before people are uniquely ID'ed online? We have it in a small way with cookies and all that jazz, but really, how long before every person is a unique ID online. You will be able to log information, store everything online, and accessible from anywhere with a fingerprint login. Searchable? Sure! If course it present many other problems security wise, but that
  • by poliopteragriseoapte (973295) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @04:12PM (#16220805)
    I actually happen to believe that one's sanity critically depends on the ability to forget things... I am not sure at all that the psychological consequences of a full-life recording have been investigated, and I somehow tend to believe they wouldn't be positive.
    • I am not sure at all that the psychological consequences of a full-life recording have been investigated, and I somehow tend to believe they wouldn't be positive.

      I tend to think the main effect would be to intesify the awareness of our own wickedness. Unless we could Tivo past all our petty acts of nastiness ...

    • by kabocox (199019)
      I actually happen to believe that one's sanity critically depends on the ability to forget things... I am not sure at all that the psychological consequences of a full-life recording have been investigated, and I somehow tend to believe they wouldn't be positive.

      Um, there are differences between having an accurate recording of an event and overly focusing on an event/memory. What'll be different is that we'll have inaccurate memories and then have the urge to look at the event and see that's not really how
  • I just created a list of every girl (okay, okay, both!) that I've ever hooked up with in my life and the dates in which it happened. It is still a work in progress as I rememeber details. If there are jpegs, I link them from the doc.

    Then I appended every girl that I am currently talking to, thier interests and how I know them. With any relevant contact info. If I hook up with them, they will move into the hook-up list. Else, they will move into "I am just friends" list.

    I need it to remember the good times,
  • Baby steps (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chairboy (88841) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @04:18PM (#16220893) Homepage
    I'd like to shamelessly repost something I wrote a few months ago on another thread about a cell phone w/ 8GB of storage. It was a response to the people who were saying "why the hell would I need that much space there?":
    The utility of having this much space on your phone isn't just storing MP3s, videos, and whatnot. The real potential is in what this means you can create.

    I'd like to have my phone be a constant or voice activated recorder. I have my phone on me at all times, it has a microphone, why not have it provide me a 'cockpit voice recorder' of sorts for life? No more guessing exactly what my wife told me to do, or having to write down phone numbers.

    Generation 1, your phone just records MP3s of life as it happens to you. If anything interesting happens during the day, you save the file on your computer.

    Generation 2, it meta overlays GPS data and is automatically stored as part of your 'diary'. You store it in an encrypted location so it can't be used against you unless you choose to release it, and you have a perfect alibi showing what you said and where you were.

    Generation 3, combine voice processing to index everything spoken around you into a searchable form, recognize phone numbers, voices, etc, and create a full digital assistant. At some point around here, it can also store a digital video feed from any cameras you or your personal equipment might have that's synchronized with everything.

    Generation 4, it hunts down Sarah Conner.

    Everytime someone puts a bunch of storage into something, someone else says "what's the use?" And human nature being what it is, some other asshole decides to invent something cool to use that storage/capabillity for just so they can give the finger to the first person.
    • Generation 4, it hunts down Sarah Conner.

      Generation 5, it marries into the Kennedy family.
      Generation 6, it becomes governor.
  • Yeah, right... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aussersterne (212916) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @04:19PM (#16220901) Homepage
    As though the observation of life as an object is the same as living life as a subject.

    This is not a breakthrough. If it is used as a body of data, rather than as entertainment, then it is just a bigger archaeological record, but it is not transformative in any way.

    If it is used as entertainment (as it no doubt will be), then this is just the new "reality entertainment" mechanism with six billion channels of reality TV on all the time. If you thought biography, autobiography, and reality TV were bad, just wait for Totality Multimedia. In the most banal sense, given how much entertainment we already consume, you will finally get to spend you life watching other people watch TV. And then, you'll get to read about what they thought as they did it, and listen to the sound of them not speaking over the sound of the radio. It's so postmodern it's primitive.

    So you can observe an entire recorded world in all its banality... Or you can turn toward the window and observe an entire world being recorded in all its banality. Life reduces to itself. Yay.

    It does create an interesting paradox, though: with this much data, to absorb the entirety of another's life as object, you must indeed sacrifice a good percentage of your own life as subject (assuming that it would take something on the order of your natural life to view the entire record [if possible at all] of another's). Actually, that's not even very interesting, as it merely telescopes down to "if someone else wastes their life, and you are passively there for the entirety, contributing nothing, doing nothing, then you also waste yours."

    Sort of goes without saying. I suppose there's a kind of performance art in being born, living, and dying only to watch someone else being born, living, and dying. But that's about it.
  • by twitter (104583) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @04:27PM (#16221007) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft Research's Gordon Bell ... the ability to store one's entire life experiences on an accessible and easily searchable file.

    Cringing at the possibility. He actually said "file" instead of database or "files". I'm imagining the Windoze and Outlook model - a single file, difficult to search or transfer, an EULA giving M$ permission to search and destroy "copyright violations" at will, zero security and it explodes at about 2.0 GB in size. Imagine:

    You: "Computer, what did I do last night?"
    computer: "Master?"
    You: "My head is splitting, there's a stranger in my bed and I want to know what happened"
    computer: "Just a moment. Just a moment"
    You: WTF?
    computer: "I'm sorry, you don't have rights to view that. They have been sold to America's dumbest moments."
    You: "Erase Last Night, you piece of shit."
    computer: "I can't do that Dave. It's already been uploaded, you will be sent the bandwith bill."
    You: Smashing Computer. "Delete last night"
    computer: "Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all" [slashdot.org]
    computer: "Your seventh birthday has been erased and your brother is liquidated. Thank you."

    • by jb.hl.com (782137)
      Was this another one of your HI-LARIOUS attempts at humour, twitter?

      Btw, nice dig at Vista's speech recognition; could you care to point me to all the OSS speech recognition software that works so much better?
  • by tinrobot (314936) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @04:40PM (#16221189)
    I have a few close friends who I email almost daily. I tell these few friends the details of my life, both good and bad. I've saved all my emails since about 1995, so I have over 10 years of my history recorded in this manner.

    A few months ago, I was going through some personal stuff about a relationship that had just ended. I wondered what the heck was I thinking when I decided to start dating this woman. So, I went back in my emails to the time when I started dating her and there were all my thoughts right there. I realized I was deluded when I started dating her, and knowing that made me feeel better for some reason. So, I guess going back in that fashion can have it's benefits, but I think recording absolutely everything is a bit much.

    I'm sure a diary/journal would serve similar purposes, but for some reason, this works for me.
  • Wish I had access to my own hard drive...

    Lessee... Delete, delete, delete... Ack, run secure disk wipe on that one...

    Ooo, lemme put this on YouTube!
  • If you can never forget, then you will always be able to relive that shame or guilt to the fullest.
  • A: I have roughly the same number of memories as Oprah and Bill G -- and, for that matter, the homeless guy who lives under a bridge across the street from my house. Clearly, just having lots of memories has loose correlation with what defines a person. Hell, I probably remember a lot more, and with much higher quality, than Keith Richards does.

    B: My mom is a weird Christian. It's her belief that when the bible talks about life after death, it doesn't mean a separate existence ("heaven") but in the mem
    • by inKubus (199753)
      Another good movie is Strange Days [imdb.com], in which the main character is a dealer of illegal 'squid' recordings - recordings made directly from the cerebral cortex of the participant, which allow the viewer to see, feel and experience everything the participant experiences as if they were there.

      Nice film, creepy at times, but quite relevant to this discussion.

  • And it made just as much sense in the context:
    "the ability to steal one's entire life experiences on an accessible and easily searchable file"
  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by retro128 (318602) on Wednesday September 27, 2006 @06:51PM (#16222535)
    Few enough people think my comments in online forums are interesting. Why would anyone care about my life? And suppose I were not to share it, then I would I keep it for myself for what purpose? Unplugging from current reality and engaging in nostalgia? And aren't some things just better off forgotten? I know there are probably a lot of dumb things I said/did in the past that I'd rather forget and hope everyone else does too. The Internet already does a fantastic job of bringing my stupid comments made years ago back into the present. I can only imagine was a lifestream would look like. Ugh.

    I can just see it now. I'm back in time leaning in for my first kiss, and then I say "hang on baby, I need to strap on my headcam so I can remember this". Of course all that would be captured are several nose bumps and her comment that I'm using too much tongue. Like I said, stuff I'd rather forget...

    Anyone ever seen Strange Days? Where the dude's got a while collection of disks of captured memories of his girlfriend that broke up with him? Yeah, there's a paradise...playing back immersive footage of some ex so often you can't let go and move on.

    And lastly, to me, the whole idea of storing your life on a drive just smacks of Myspace style attention whoring gone stratospheric. And you think drunken party pics are bad...
  • I would also want the ability to delete specific memories. I have a few that I don't want.
  • by dbc001 (541033)
    I've recently started using a wiki to take notes on things I do. Not personal stuff, but how-to. When I have to look something up the second or third time, it goes into the wiki. If I have a cool idea for a project, I put it in the wiki. It's not much right now but's it's growing fast - and theoretically it contains an outline of everything I've learned lately. I'm amazed at the thought of how things would be different if I had started this 10 years ago though - keep in mind that everything that goes i
  • Snow Crash's "gargoyles" are now real.
  • I have yet to see any substantial contribution by Gordon Bell to this field. I think the reason he is receiving all this press is because he's a famous name that's backed by Microsoft. Bell is a database expert, but the tough problems in this area aren't database problems.

    If someone should get credit for pioneering work in this area, it's Steve Mann.
  • Some people seriously need to read more Science Fiction. In this particular case, go read "Accelerando" by Charles Stross. It covers much of the topics in this thread, and about a 1000 more. Dense reading, but OK if you've been reading Slashdot for a few years.
  • If humans may be viewed as the sum total of their memories

    If that's all we are, I think I'd rather be a goat ... or a rabbit.

  • All I can think of is that this would be a huge waste of resources. Nobody would ever want to watch more than a small fraction of the tape. And even if they did want to, it would be physically impossible without alot of skimming and skipping. If the idea is still attractive to you, I can only say get a life!

    It is a rare movie indeed that I'd agree to seeing twice, or book that I would re-read; there's too much to see, read and do in life to start repeating old experiences.
  • would that make seagate or western digital guilty of murder? or just littering?

Pohl's law: Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.

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