Saturday

Our Future Digital Memories

Preserving memories seems to be a very important part of the human condition. From ancient times, the traditional method is to tell stories, to pass on history and wisdom to subsequent generations. Later came the written word, and still later, photography and video technology. The digitization of data (taking the contents of several VHS tapes and putting it onto a small memory card, for example) allows us to realistically store more moments in time that ever before.


Now that I am older, I often find myself wishing that I had a photo or video of a specific moment - my memory has never been particularly good, and of course it's not something that usually improves with age. 

On social media sites, you now see many photos or videos of people doing (sometimes) mundane things, because they can; digital cameras are everywhere, and are essentially "free" to use. Those moments may be very significant to them as individuals, though - perhaps an informal snap that immortalizes a lost friend in happier times, things like that.

This trend may take a large step forward concepts like Google's (now on hold) Project Glass take off, and my feeling is that it probably will depending on how it's finally implemented. Glass is a method offered to allow people to record "first person" video in a hands free manner, by wearing a eyeglass-type frame with a small camera in place. You could record "yourself" enjoying various sports, for example.

This perhaps leads to the concept of carrying around (or wearing) a device that automatically records images during the day. Creepy in some sense perhaps, but it opens up the possibility of an actual "photographic" memory. The Memoto "Life-Logging Camera" and Autographer are two examples of this kind of technology. While those two take a series of individual still images, there are others (like Glass) that record video.

Getting really "out there" there is a concept among futurists referred to as the Singularity, meaning a time where human physiology and computer technology achieve a symbiosis (we become computers, or at least computer-assisted beings), and where we could therefore upload and download memories as one might do with a computer file now.

I don't know if I'm ready for that - all I really want is to be able to take a quick snap without fumbling around in my pockets first...

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