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Recording Your Entire Life

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the as-we-may-think dept.

Data Storage 211

Scientific American has an article on Gordon Bell's 9-year-long experiment of recording great swaths of his life on digital media. The idea harks back to an article by Vannevar Bush in the 1940s, which arguably presaged hypertext and the Web as well. Bell, the father of the VAX computer and now with Microsoft Research, first published a paper on his experiment in CACM in 2001. The goal is to record "all of Bell's communications with other people and machines, as well as the images he sees, the sounds he hears and the Web sites he visits." Storage requirements are estimated at a modest 18 GB a year, 1.1 TB over a 60-year span. Not a lot if the article's projection comes to pass — that we will all be walking around with 1 TB of storage in our portable devices by 2015. The article is co-authored by Jim Gemmell, who wrote the software for the MyLifeBits project.

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robin williams movie anyone (3, Interesting)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088428)

"The Final Cut" I think it was called?

Re:robin williams movie anyone (2, Insightful)

dougrun (633662) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088690)

Yes, the Final Cut with Williams and Mira Sorvino. Lions Gate Films. Not so science "fiction" now eh?

Re:robin williams movie anyone (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088908)

That and Bruce Scneier has been describing this as a likelihood for some time now.

Re:robin williams movie anyone (2, Insightful)

Chiaro Meratilo (1036598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089178)

One thing I never got from that movie was the whole "editors" concept. I mean, these recordings are 60 years long, so wouldn't it take 60 years--at the least-- to edit one person's life for their tombstone? Not to mention that nobody's said whether or not they want to watch memories of some guy.

Re:robin williams movie anyone (1)

Nirvelli (851945) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089466)

The "editors" thing was the reason he had that giant fancy computer that indexed the whole life into different sections automatically, like "birthdays," "promotions," "children," etc.
He just had to pick different events and throw bits of them into the video timeline.

Re:robin williams movie anyone (1)

Jamil Karim (931849) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089644)

Well... In the film there was a computer program that already did much of the editing for the editor. It categorized different significant events in the person's life automatically, letting the editor pick-and-choose from the already filtered list.

Re:robin williams movie anyone (1)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089308)

Yeah. That was an underrated movie. It was pretty good, but it could have been better if they had developed the story more. It just doesn't pan out with Williams' wimpy character as the "cutter". They should have hired Brad Pitt and Salma Hayek and had a couple of scenes where cars explode and toxic gas is released and the laser-equipped shark attacks the... never mind.

It was entertaining though. Good concept.

Re:robin williams movie anyone (1)

bjorniac (836863) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090138)

Ugh, 5 minutes of interesting concept, an hour and a half of boring movie, and a "plot twist" that you had to be blind not to see coming...I think Asimov and Clarke have short stories that are at least similar and more interesting.

Another good one is Freeze Frame... (1)

Afecks (899057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089762)

I don't know about you guys but every time there was some mysterious assassin in a movie there were never any photographs of him. I always envied that.

Note to self: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088434)

Turn recording device off BEFORE committing crimes!

Re:Note to self: (5, Interesting)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088514)

Turn recording device off BEFORE committing crimes!

Such as entering a movie theater?

Record your life, so long as your life doesn't contain any copyrighted works.

Re:Note to self: (5, Insightful)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088540)

Note to self: Turn recording device off BEFORE committing crimes!

Laugh while you can. Before long, turning off your Life Recorder will be considered a presumption of guilt.

The use of Life Recorders is only dangerous insofar as our society's ideology is broken. Whereas right now, there are so many loopholes, we can afford to believe stupid things ("it shall be illegal for an adult male to have penetrative sex with another adult male...") because there is so much room to hide from the law. Indeed, the deepest benefit of privacy is that it shields the lives of individuals from the ideologies of their neighbors.

By way of illustration, we all share (i.e. de-privatize) ourselves with people to the extent that they share our own ideology.

Stealing The Iraq War For Private Profit : (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088790)

was worth U.S. $ billions.

Stealing your votes was priceless [whitehouse.org] .

Feloniously,
George W. Bush

Re:Note to self: (3, Interesting)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088976)

John Varley's "Steel Beach" looked at this from the other side. Soon, your household computer will be a reliable witness to every act of abuse committed against a spouse or child within your home. As a result, in the book both the law and their programming forbade computers from giving evidence against their owners. You can probably guess the eventual result.

Re:Note to self: (4, Interesting)

jamie (78724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088728)

Presumably you would encrypt your observations before storing them. Then it's just a matter of whether and under what circumstances the government can force you to reveal your passphrase.

My guess is that, faced with this novel situation, a judge might rule that if the police have probable cause to believe you were involved in a crime at a particular time, the court can demand your observations for that time period be decrypted, but aren't entitled to view your entire life. Failure to comply might keep you in jail for contempt of court.

A very strong argument could be made, though, that the 5th Amendment entitles us to refuse to disclose our passphrases. I confess I don't know the state of case law on this.

Re:Note to self: (3, Insightful)

Erris (531066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088824)

Turn recording device off BEFORE committing crimes!

or anything that might be embarrassing out of context
or anything that might clash with the feds current policy
or visiting the doctor
or talking to someone who might say something "inappropriate"
or looking at the wrong web page
or writing "I hate big brother" in your paper diary.

Or you could just use free software and encourage others to do the same before big brother can outlaw it along with the rest of your freedoms. Who on Earth is going to trust M$ with a life recorder?

Re:Note to self: (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089068)

And warp you self in tinfoil

nice (0, Offtopic)

dedazo (737510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089216)

Or you could just use free software and encourage others to do the same before big brother can outlaw it along with the rest of your freedoms. Who on Earth is going to trust M$ with a life recorder?

twitter, do you sometimes feel you're taking this heroic struggle against "M$" a little too far? Inserting yourself into threads with pointless non-sequiturs like these?

We remember it for you wholesale (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089222)

This would be great. My computer remembers my life for me, so that I don't have to.

Re:We remember it for you wholesale (1)

batmonkey (940480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089868)

Makes me wonder what P.K. Dick would have said about all this...

Re:Note to self: (-1, Troll)

arminw (717974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090044)

....Turn recording device off BEFORE committing crimes!.....

Now if you can persuade God to turn of HIS recording device you'll be all set.

Here is what Jesus said on the subject: "But I say to you that every idle word, whatever men may speak, they shall give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned". Matthew 12:36-37

To John the Apostle, it was also shown that detailed recordings are made of everything in everybody's life: "And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead in it. And death and hell delivered up the dead in them. And each one of them was judged according to their works". Revelation 20:12-13

At some point all secrets, yours and mine will be made public. Jesus said: "For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, nor anything hidden that shall not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light. And that which you have spoken in the ear in secret rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. Luke 12:2-3

Centuries before Jesus walked the earth, Daniel also was shown that records are kept, to be revealed for judgment. Daniel 7:10

I find it remarkable that such things are written in a book that many today dismiss as tales of fiction. Yet this was put in writing long before any such technology was even dreamed of by any human. I suspect God's recordings are at least in HD video and surround sound, maybe also 3D shot from various locations and angles.

You think they missed the mark? (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088448)

You don't suspect that in a few years we won't have terabyte storage on our personal devices, do you? That would be really short sighted. If we're still here in 7 or 8 years, 1TB will probably be pretty ho-hum.

Re:You think they missed the mark? (2, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088584)

You don't suspect that in a few years we won't have terabyte storage on our personal devices, do you? That would be really short sighted. If we're still here in 7 or 8 years, 1TB will probably be pretty ho-hum.

We have TB of HD space for what $700-$800? It's not quite there, yet. I get excited every time I look up the current prices/storage sizes of those USB thumb drives. When we can pick up 1TB of thumb drive space for $20-$40; this'll start happening far more than anyone previously thought.

I could see folks using cell phones to silently record everything. We'd need some high speed automated way for a program to search an audio stream for selected text, or for all the audio to be converted to text with it noted, which different speakers are talking. We'd need the same to apply to video as well, but I think that'd be harder. I could see people streaming their life to video.google.com or some other site. It's only a matter of time.

Re:You think they missed the mark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089800)

I agree but if one thinks it only going to take 1TeraByte for a lifetime of experiences vocally and visually there nuts. I would say at least 100TeraBytes. But its everything he says or sees. The images without being compress just one day could be a TeraByte.

Re:You think they missed the mark? (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090210)

I was considering the storage size of a human generic brain, about 2 Peta bytes. I figure in about 15 years, peta byte drives should be priced low enough for a dirt bag like me to purchase. Question, how can I download what I have already recorded using my brain?

go directly to jail... (4, Insightful)

poptones (653660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088466)

the first time he "sees" a 14 year old dancing provocatively at a street fair or public park, or changes his kid's diapers, or goes to a bachelor party without getting signed 2257 documents from the stripper...

Letting all your crimes be known? Would you? (5, Insightful)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088624)

I'm wondering how much a person would change their lifestyle, the things they do, watch, see, etc... if they were under this situation. Surely the person would have an understanding that the government could have a court order to seize all of this information and prosecute a person for everything they had ever done. Would they act the same under such circumstances?

A record like this almost needs to fall under the 5th amendment of non-self incrimination for a person to actually attempt this (which it does not of course).

It seems that it would either lead to a state of paranoia, or a person changing too much about their lives for it to be an accurate record of them.

I'd imagine that many people would change the people they associate with (who they wouldn't want to incriminate accidentally), the drugs they tried or saw, the women they talked to, the affairs they had, how they spent their money (and did their taxes!), the website they viewed, the books they read, the people they chatted with online or the porn they watched. Otherwise, they'd be nuts.

They would likely be arrested, dumped by their signifcant others, fired from their jobs, ridiculed by friends and family, etc..

I think the truth of it is that people (of all religions) need to realize that no one lives without fault/sin/whatever they call it, and be ready for the real brutal truth of all a person's dirty secrets.

I'm a musician/creative type and I know that I wouldn't want a hard record of everything that goes on around me. I'm sure that everyone else has seen/done things they wouldn't want expressed eventually to the entire world.

what crimes? (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088942)

I'm not even talking about criminal behavior. US law now makes it a crime to _record_ all types of otherwise perfectly NORMAL human behavior under the guise of "protecting the children." You could be a freaking saint but unless you spent your life alone in a room (and were castrated) you would inevitably find yourself "seeing" things the nanny state wants to protect us from. Thanks to the latest bit of wonder from the 11th circuit court, you couldn't even walk the street during Mardi Gras without violating 18 USC2257.

"Crimes" (2, Insightful)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089260)

You're right. I didn't mean to implicate that everyone is actually a bad person/criminal, and your example is perfectly right of how the system might abuse someone who documented too much.

I'd hate to be arrested after being on stage (recording everything I saw) and some 17 year old girl flashed her tits at the stage. Opps, then i'd be slammed for recording child porn. And you're right. Walk down the street at Mardi Gras and opps... tits again. Maybe underage? No 2257 documentation? Slammer.

God forbid I saw or smoked some weed, or left a beer bottle sitting somewhere backstage that someone that was 20 got ahold of.

Re:Letting all your crimes be known? Would you? (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089110)

I think the truth of it is that people (of all religions) need to realize that no one lives without fault/sin/whatever they call it, and be ready for the real brutal truth of all a person's dirty secrets.

I'm a musician/creative type and I know that I wouldn't want a hard record of everything that goes on around me. I'm sure that everyone else has seen/done things they wouldn't want expressed eventually to the entire world.


I think that it could be a good thing. I wouldn't want to be part of the 1-3rd generation that tries this, but from 4th generation onward it'll be the norm and every one every where will have their entire lives stored. Those people will have to live with the legal mistakes and mis steps of those early generation folks. I think that you'll see an ironclad digital personal privacy admendment somewhere around the time the 2n and 3rd generation are walking around with these things. The first generation will be the ones abused by the current system. The 2nd and 3rd generation will change the system and use their records against those that try to torment them. Those with the most documentation will when the legal battles. You just won't get more documentation than entire life recordings. The odd beware what you do cause God is always watching you won't be anything compared to beware what you do because everyone else could review your life and find out if you've been good or bad. Forget Santa & God, those guys generally stick to themselves, these devices could be real terror devices. I'd look forward to all school bullies and sibling violence being treated as if they were adult crimes. That'll be the first good thing to come out of this.

Re:Letting all your crimes be known? Would you? (1)

valindar (838812) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089392)

I'd look forward to all school bullies and sibling violence being treated as if they were adult crimes.

Reminds me of the monitor Ender (and his siblings) had in Ender's Game. They weren't charged with anything for what they did, but it gave him some protection against anyone who wanted to hurt him - similarly, if someone was to be murdered, this (life recording) would make sure they're punished for it. Presuming the recording wasn't taken, which would mean it would have to be uploaded somewhere wirelessly.

Re:Letting all your crimes be known? Would you? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089434)

Surely the person would have an understanding that the government could have a court order to seize all of this information and prosecute a person for everything they had ever done

I suggest either moving to another country, changing your behaviour, or attempting to change the behaviour of your government. Personally I wouldn't want everything recorded out of embarrassment.

Re:Letting all your crimes be known? Would you? (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089630)

I'm wondering how much a person would change their lifestyle, the things they do, watch, see, etc... if they were under this situation. Surely the person would have an understanding that the government could have a court order to seize all of this information and prosecute a person for everything they had ever done. Would they act the same under such circumstances?

Just look at reality TV. A pretence of proprietary is there initially, then most of the retards they put on these shows either forget the cameras are there or choose to ignore them so long as they don't immediately feel the consequences of their actions. Then they come out and realise the came across as racists or manipulators or sluts or victims and realise hey there is a consequence to constantly being filmed. I suspect even non-cretins would fall victim to the same phenomenon.

Re:Letting all your crimes be known? Would you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089808)

So if someone were to back mail you, can you sue them and use DMCA take down on them claiming that your life is copyrighted and they have an unauthorized copy of it?

Can he walk into a movie with the recording on?
Can he record if he hasn't got all the paperwork of people around him? What if he is on a phone/talking to a COP? etc. And what if he is a MD.?

Sound like lot of legal issues to me.

Re:go directly to jail... (2, Interesting)

I7D (682601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089528)

Today on the train ride home i'll finih 'The light of Other days', a book by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter. The book is about life with wormholes, where everybody can see anything they wish at any time. Its very interesting, a good read. Somebody else on slashdot recommended it and I bought it for a penny on amazon. If you do happen to pick it up, let me know what you think.

the observed (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088492)

I wonder how he's changed his life based on the fact that it's being so thoroughly documented...

Those around him... (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088788)

I wonder how those around him have been forced to change their lives based on the fact that they're being so thoroughly documented.

Personally, the idea of this creeps me out. I mean, if you want to completely destroy your own privacy, I guess that's okay, but if you want to damage the my privacy by recording everything I do in your presence, then that's different.

Re:Those around him... (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089266)

I wonder how those around him have been forced to change their lives based on the fact that they're being so thoroughly documented.

Personally, the idea of this creeps me out. I mean, if you want to completely destroy your own privacy, I guess that's okay, but if you want to damage the my privacy by recording everything I do in your presence, then that's different.


You are don't believe that you actually had privacy before? These things will just be records of the past. We will have people try to use them to control others. That's expected. That won't last. I'd expect youtube will end up with the most out of context embrassing videos of most people's lifes. Do you try to hide from everyone around you? Just because they'll forget you or not pay attention to you, doesn't mean that you had privacy. This tech could enable you to record and auto-tag every individual that you ever encounter. It'll be really cool when you can easily search through them though. Say you like looking at FBI's, your state's, or your cities most wanted or national missing and exploited childerns database. Well, you had this tech with some good ID tech, your software could automatically inform you or at your discretion the police or other authorities if you see a most wanted person or missing kid. I'd use it to id just the random people that work in my office building that I see day in and day out, but have no idea what their names are. I'd use it to search images of those people and come up with names, job titles, and work numbers. It'll be useful.

Re:Those around him... (2, Insightful)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089894)

I'd say that once the last person who knew anyone in the life recording is dead the personal connection is gone and the recording can be viewed entirely as a historical matter. Practically speaking, that would be two lifetimes after the death of the person being recorded, roughly 225 years (maybe more in the future). Frankly at that point, any right to privacy anyone in the recording has is expired because anyone who may have known them is dead. Privacy doesn't last forever, eventually historical importance (if any) takes precedence. I don't wory about anyone living 300 years from now seeing my life, neither should you. Fortunately all copyrights in the material will have expired prior to that as well.

Re:the observed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088844)

I wonder how he's changed his life based on the fact that it's being so thoroughly documented...

Well, for one thing, I'll bet he doesn't masturbate anywhere near as much as he used to...

Re:the observed (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088884)

Probably no more than a reality TV show contestant I would imagine. Most of their interviews suggest the wired eye quickly morphs into a familiar acquaintance (like a family member); hence the awkward scratches, belches, and nude trollops caught on tape. I would imagine it would be no different than occasionally glancing at your watch every so often.

Instant messenger chat logs (4, Interesting)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088524)

I used to make sure all my IM software logged all my chats by default - I saw it as a form of "recording my life" (I used to chat online a LOT). Especially in the event that something happened to me (some kind of fatal accident etc.) there would be some history or leftover "data" for family/friends to keep, I guess. Honestly if people had read the chats they would think so differently of me considering the things I discussed, but regardless I felt like I would want people to know either way. I imagine other people do this as well, although maybe not neccesarily with the same reasons in mind (no, I'm not hinting at anything).

Re:Instant messenger chat logs (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088866)

Honestly if people had read the chats they would think so differently of me considering the things I discussed,

Man I didn't know necro2607 was that into his wizard robe and hat.

Re:Instant messenger chat logs (1)

richard.cs (1062366) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088962)

I do that! Not really sure why (partly the recording my life thing) but occasionally it's useful. Sometimes I read through them when I get bored and I am always amazed how much stuff happens I don't remember just a few months later, kinda like re-reading a diary in some ways.

Re:Instant messenger chat logs (1)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090164)

How about Ana Voog? [anacam.com] She's had a cam running 24/7 in her home since August of '97. I seem to recall she once took the whole setup on a road trip back before it was convenient.

only 18 GB ? (3, Funny)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088528)

Either he's asleep 23 hours a day or he spends every waking moment staring into space.

Re:only 18 GB ? (2, Informative)

atamido (1020905) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089106)

or he spends every waking moment staring into space.

If he was looking up into space [slashdot.org] , he'd be getting a heck of a lot more than 18GB. The human eye gets the equivalent of around 600 million pixels. [wikipedia.org]

The telescope will use a digital camera with 3 billion pixels to image the entire sky across three nights, producing an expected 30 terabytes of data per night.

Re:only 18 GB ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090122)

Sounds rather bogus, yes.

Simple calculations: Assuming standard xvid quality "rip" (700 kbps video, 128 kbps audio):

Seconds in a year: 60*60*24 * 365.20 = 31553280

Be conservative and assume he sleeps half the day. That's 15776640 seconds left. Times 828 kbps makes
1.31e10 kbits, or 1.52 terabytes. Per year.

18 GB a year? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088530)

I can fill that in a day on Limewire.

O RLY? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088902)

I can fill that in 2 hours with a BitTorrent client.

LimeWire is utter shit.

Re:18 GB a year? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089220)

That would be 0.598502283 MiB per second. [(1024*1024*18)/(24*365*60*60)]

Re:18 GB a year? (1)

wirelessbuzzers (552513) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089414)

I believe you mean 0.5985 kiB per second.

He was featured in FastCompany ... (3, Informative)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088562)

He was the feature in Fast Company a few issues ago. It was a really good read.

here it is [fastcompany.com] although there are a lot of pictures and sidebars that are missing from the original print article.

No need for paternity tests (1)

RebelSponge (1065066) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088566)

Just think, if Anna Nicole had this, we wouldn't have to listen to all the media crap about who the father is. Just go to the tape. As an added bonus, we might have some good porn (unless it was that old guy married to Zsa Zsa).

Re:No need for paternity tests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088610)

FRANK!

Or he could do it the easy way... (2, Insightful)

dcskier (1039688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088602)

Big deal, if he just moved to Britain the job would be done [slashdot.org] for him.

18GB/year (3, Funny)

brainspank (515274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088616)

pfft. I think I could top that on a weekend. Or maybe he just uses URLs.

- 2007.02.16:20.31.19.GMT
movie://holy-grail-dircut/chapters/3
food://cheetos
observe://fingers/wrongcolor/orange
use://pants/wipe.cgi

or maybe he just sits in a dark room. a stream of 0's would compress pretty well.

immortality (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088642)

Immortality in 3 easy steps (patent pending):
1. Record all sensory information available to your brain from conception.
2. Grow a genetically identical clone of yourself.
3. Boot your clone from disk. If anything goes wonky, revert to a clean install.

Use appropriate DRM to prevent unlicensed copying.

Re:immortality (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088988)

> Use appropriate DRM to prevent unlicensed copying.

Or better yet, unleash that DRM back on it's creator. [imdb.com]

Re:immortality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089578)

"Immortality in 3 easy steps (patent pending):".......

Your idea gives an entirely new meaning to:

(A)bort, (R)etry, (F)ail

Re:immortality (1)

Rick17JJ (744063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18090118)

Another alternative might be to electronically duplicate the a persons brain, memories and all. The next step would be to transplant the electronic brain into an android. Another alternative to becoming an android would be to transplant a person's consciousness into a computer generated virtual world. Other electronically cloned people could also be placed there too after they die. Of course if someone already believes in life after death, an electronically generated virtual heaven might be unnecessary and redundant. Personally, I sort of believe in reincarnation (more or less). However, I do not belong to any particular religion. Since I am not really sure an electronically generated virtual heaven might be a saver bet. Actually, the thought of just dieing someday doesn't really bother me so I don't feel the need to try very hard to avoid death.

I haven't yet read the article, but perhaps they could take a recently deceased persons brain and after freezing it, maybe they could disassemble in neuron by neuron with micromachines to somehow extract the persons memories and neural connections. Then they could transplant it to a some kind of "neural net". There is also the question of whether the person's soul is something separate and possibly in addition to a person's memories. If the soul decided not to come along, there might be difficulties in creating a full normal working intelligence in the electronic brain.

zzz... (2, Insightful)

openaddy (852404) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088648)

Most people's lives just aren't that interesting. If someone wants to do this for their own amusement, like keeping a diary, that's cool. But I really have neither the time nor the inclination to read the blogs of people I personally know -- I usually make passing glances out of politeness -- never mind great swaths of their lives in digital form.

Wedding videos. (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088880)

If people spend craploads of money hiring people and equipment to record the most significant moments of their lives and then shelve them never to be viewed again...what the hell is the point of recording all the insignificant moments? Oh, yes, I really must relive that lunchtime subway ride back in August.

Re:Wedding videos. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089340)

What if something really important happened on one of your lunchtime subway rides? You might get some enjoyment out of reviewing that, but you'd never record it without also recording all the boring ones.

I would argue that it's still not worth it. But I'm the guy that doesn't even take cameras on vacation anymore because it started to feel like I wasn't so much having a vacation as making a vacation collage for later use.

Re:Wedding videos. (1)

Johnboi Waltune (462501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089342)

Suppose AI technology eventually gets good enough, the person's personality, aptitudes, skills, etc, might be reconstructed from having a record of everything they ever said, saw, heard, or did. Even if that person was no longer physically alive. It could be a "resurrection" of sorts.

See the Cronenberg movie "Videodrome" for an interesting take on this idea (and this film was made at least 20 years ago).

Re:Wedding videos. (1)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089564)

This presumes that the person in question is more interesting after their death than and to those who are alive at the time of their proposed "resurrection." This is highly unlikely.

RIAA & MPAA Will LOVE This Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088658)

Considering he's to record all the 'sounds' he hears (radio, CDs) and 'sights' (including movies, TV, etc), we have more piracy on our hands!

And God forbid he likes kiddie porn!

Technological Children Much? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18088678)

Consciousness is directly related to how much you participate in your life, and how much you perceive you are able to participate in your life. Memory is a direct result of that. I can remember years of my life where I was given no choice, and I would run around aimlessly like a robot doing tasks a retarded monkey could figure out, day after day. Then too much automation took root and I completely fell apart. I can remember crying because I noticed the grain in a wooden surface for the first time in ages.

Memory depends on your perception then and now more than anything. The reason some are going headfirst into this kind of research is because the kids with technology spend all their time in meaningless environments doing meaningless things, they grew up that way. Games are meaningless, TV is meaningless, this text; it's pretty much meaningless, as is the news and slashdot. They're all virtual things with no value to us. They feel as though their life is meaningless because they do meaningless things all god damn day long, and at the end of the day, when they go home, and try to get meaning out of their lives, they find themselves unable to feel like they have meaning. Living a meaningless life leads to a meaningless past. Hence, the reason they want to record it.

What isn't meaningless? Hugs and kisses from beautiful women. Cranking up an engine you spent 4 weeks rebuilding and taking a drive down to a pizza place 100 miles away to celebrate. Waking up in the morning after damn dear dieing the last day and taking your first breath. Sitting infront of the computer and grabbing a flab of skin and noticing you've lost a lot of weight.

Those things have meaning, and some people may want to record them or take a piece with them to prove they were here and they did this. Some of us have meaningfull lives that go places, and for us, there's no point to record it all; we've already got what we want right here, right now and the memories can be relegated to stories you tell buddies in bars at 2 am. For the rest of us, memories of the deceased are enough to get us through the day.

It's a technology for a sick culture.

Re:Technological Children Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089176)

Interesting read. There is much emptiness in the lives of most people. We go to work, day in and day out, and (for some) all it gives us is bread on the table.

However, I would like to point out that what is meaningless to some, may very well be all the way more meaningful to others.

Re:Technological Children Much? (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089292)

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your journal. Seriously, I would.

That really was an insightful contrast between the daily grind which grinds us and the daily charms which provoke us; the latter requiring very little effort to recount in detail. However, to really add some depth and appreciation in remembering our lost loved ones, I found that home movies really do incite and unearth so many more available memories still on tap just below the surface. And as you allude to, there really is some poetic and nostalgic appeal in retelling past experiences over actually witnessing them again; you can always fashion or shape those past experiences to the moment. Like most things in life, such technology is best enjoyed when applied in moderation.

Re:Technological Children Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089318)

Although I agree with your 'live in the moment' philosophical stance, I find it hard to believe that there is one or a collection of "right" meaning(s) for life. Sure I like fixing cars too, and yes it gives my life meaning, but that doesnt mean someone who hires a mechanic has lost perspective. I would also question the wisdom of recording your life (I for instance hate photographs (non pornographic obviously)) because I would hope that the memory is enough. Past and future are lenses that we see the time through. There really only is the moment.

But after all that, how could you say anything is meaningless? Theres a lyric by velvet underground; "its alright the way that you live" which is probably one of the more powerful song based realizations I have ever had.

Re:Technological Children Much? (3, Interesting)

sorabji (1066020) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089330)

I have always wondered how anyone remembers what to remember. What subconscious sets of anxieties and biases determine what stories we tell about ourselves years later?

I'm reminded of a story in the New York Times magazine several years ago, recounting some of the content from a release of KGB surveillance records. Every moment of Soviet suspect citizen's lives were documented, with one passage recounting how a particular citizen approached a hot dog stand, asked for a hot dog, waited as the hot dog was prepared, paid for the hot dog, placed mustard on the hot dog, asked for relish, said thank you, walked away from the hot dog stand... I would think it mildly interesting to learn that my life had been documented in such a way.

I used to have webcams all over my place. Three of them at home, two at the office, taking photos every 5 or 10 seconds. I did it for years, and forgot about it until I found 50,000+ webcam pictures of me; photos of me sitting here, or sitting there, walking around. It seemed depressing at first, endless pictures of me gaping into a computer monitor and talking on the phone. Wasting this life is the impression I got when my own memories of that time have faded and only raw visual information about my activities was available. It's amazing how little that visual and other documentary information convey about the mental and psychological experience of a memory.

I can't say that my impression of discovering those thousands of pictures has changed, either. Life looks pretty damn boring when all quotidian endeavors are documented like precious information, but under certain influences I find it inspiring, too. It's the stuff of comedy, after all.

I think this sort of thing will never be mainstream, but I think it could become more common. I would liked to have a video camera in my eyes, sending video out to a web server somewhere, when I got mugged last year or when I witnessed a hit-and-run accident a few months ago. Anxiety and other circumstances effectively prevent me from clearly remembering what happened.

Then again, I think most memories should fade.

Everything has meaning (4, Interesting)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089336)

In fact, everything has only and exactly the meaning you give it, and for you, no other meaning is possible. You chose to give certain situations in your life meaning, and you chose to say that others had no meaning. That was your choice. But it is not entirely up to you, your choices are never made as freely as you think. As a child you had little choice but to accept the meaning-templates that society provided you. You can choose to move on and redefine your templates, but that is a hard thing, and most never do it.

I'm glad you've found more meaning in your life, though. That is always a good thing. Just don't shut out those "meaningless" parts, they may have more meaning than you thought at the time.

Re:Technological Children Much? (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089490)

What isn't meaningless? Hugs and kisses from beautiful women. Cranking up an engine you spent 4 weeks rebuilding and taking a drive down to a pizza place 100 miles away to celebrate. Waking up in the morning after damn dear dieing the last day and taking your first breath. Sitting infront of the computer and grabbing a flab of skin and noticing you've lost a lot of weight.
Well, interestingly enough, some people can find meaning in things other than spending 4 weeks getting various cuts and scrapes from metal corners, or drinking themselves to death. Isn't that just the darnedest thing?

I'll love to do it but... (1)

ArcticCelt (660351) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088682)

I'll love to do it. Unfortunately I also know that all governments would love to implement some law that gives them instant access to that data wherever they want. By cherry picking information in so much data you can probably accuse anyone of whatever you want just by picking events without putting them in context.

Thoughts (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088720)

This will be highly inadvisable until such time as we are all forced to have them. At which point it will be illegal for your lawyer to advise you not to have one.

At the point at which they become ubiquitous, you will either have a mass boycott of copyright (because people will not be permitted to record that part of their life) or a mass revolt against it causing it to be stricken down because people want to be able to record everything they see.

I think that is only reasonable of course; why should only those with eidetic recall be permitted to remember every detail of a movie?

Re:Thoughts (1)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089432)

If it was actually possible to use this technology in the way it is described, a study would be completed on the effects on your memory of using this technology (think cell phones and how you probably can't remember anyone's phyone number but a decade or two ago you had your most frequent numbers memorized). Since there would be an obvious negative effect on your brain's ability to store information, it could be argued that use of such technology is a detriment to your mental health and cannot be mandatory. Of course, it is reasonable to assume that if this technology is used for many generations, eventually, there would be no one left to remember what its like to think without the aid of such a machine, so I guess you're kinda right with your initial claim.

Re:Thoughts (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089736)

Since there would be an obvious negative effect on your brain's ability to store information, it could be argued that use of such technology is a detriment to your mental health and cannot be mandatory.

Since there would be?

You have apparently forgotten that sometimes things behave counterintuitively.

That, or you have a time machine. Which is it?

Re:Thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18090042)

Sounds like a plot used in Psychohistorical Crisis [nesfa.org] , which is an awesome book if you liked the Foundation books by Isaac Asimov.

Weblogs are my memory. (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088796)

Like most of you folks, I started a little blog [adamandjamie.com] to document my family and my life. It makes for a pretty darn good memory jogger. I sheepishly used it to remember my daughter's birthday, my wife's cell phone number, and all manner of timeline issues.

For the most part, I don't care about remembering everything. I want to remember the good stuff, the funny stuff, and the important stuff. The key to memory is having a good editor.

Re:Weblogs are my memory. (1)

basscomm (122302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089122)

You put your wife's cell phone number on a public website, and then told Slashdot about it?

You're braver than I.

Recording yourself would be great (0, Redundant)

Asshat Canada (804093) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088842)

except for all the mastubating.

kinda repetitive (2, Funny)

garlicbready (846542) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088868)

i think the real question is who's going to bother watching it?
perhaps in the future you could record your entire life, watiching someone else's life, who's been watching someone else's life on a mac

hmmm
I wonder how many Gb would be taken up just taking a piss
and how well it would compress with x264 over a period of several years

Who cares? (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 7 years ago | (#18088898)

Perhaps most important, digital memories can enable all people to tell their life stories to their descendants in a compelling, detailed fashion that until now has been reserved solely for the rich and famous.

But why do you think that your descendants will care? How much of your ancestors' lives would you be willing to sit through? Would you give up "American Idol" to sit through your great-grandfather's off-key redition of "A Bicycle Built For Two"?

Re:Who cares? (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089498)

Would you give up "American Idol" to sit through your great-grandfather's off-key redition of "A Bicycle Built For Two"?

Is this a trick question? I'd give it up to watch paint dry.

Yes, but... (2, Insightful)

BTWR (540147) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089018)

As has been asked several times before on Slashdot...

How will he safety store these terrabytes?

The making of... (2, Insightful)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089064)

Sounds like a case when the making of will be more interesting than the actual movie.

An opposite of the 'leave no trace' philosophy (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089116)

What hubris. What self-aggrandizement! What a collosal waste of good disk space! What ego!

Wait, buy me some Seagate stock!

Everyone will have... (1)

Mopar93 (1046032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089128)

... their own little black box.

They should have done this in 1984.

-Maurice

Only 18Gb... (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089146)

I guess I must be a very busy bee with my 50 Gb per month in new data. And thats no video, pictures nor spam. I guess I am not living on this planet?

Re:Only 18Gb... (2, Funny)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089850)

Just upgraded to MS Office 2007 eh?

Cool! Will I be able... (2, Funny)

Mr.Scamp (974300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089164)

Will I be able to use google on the collected data to find my car keys in the morning? If so, sign me up now.

On a similar note.. (1)

Skythe (921438) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089258)

There's an interesting video on youtube [youtube.com] of a guy that has apparently taken a photo of himself every day for six days, and has collaged it all together.

Re:On a similar note.. (1)

PatrickThomson (712694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089464)

So six photos?

nice project for a person, worthless to the masses (3, Insightful)

krotkruton (967718) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089314)

To me, this project is pretty interesting, let alone impressive that the guy manages to stay committed to working at it for 9 years.

But this idea that everyone will be doing this seems pretty stupid to me. If we recorded everything we did, without revolutionary advancements in search or data mining technology (which the article recognizes), that information would be worthless for most cases with the exception of things for which you know an exact date or time. So you want to know what you did Jan 4, 2003, no problem. Want to know the last time you saw a kid flying a kite in the park? Problem, unless you want to search the video of each time you were in the park. Want to remember that song that you liked that was playing when you were driving with your brother in the car, but can't remember when it happened? Problem unless you want to replay all the audio of you two in the car. The article discusses using metadata to "tag" events, but this is cumbersome with currect technology (as the article also recognizes). Most "tags" would need to be manually added, which would still be a problem even if voice recognition software made it easier to add the tags. We could solve the problem of remembering parts of conversations if voice recognition software converted all speech into a searchable form, but we aren't quite at that level yet.

FTA: An ordinary notebook PC can run a database that is more powerful and almost 100 times as large as that of a major bank of the 1980s. An inexpensive cell phone can surf the Web, play videos and even understand some speech.

Yeah, and a decade before that in 1976, the CRAY-1 [wikipedia.org] was impressive. Sorry if beating an 80s computer doesn't allay my feelings that our computers can't handle the massive amount of data that the article discusses.

The article talks about logging health information that would allow the doctor to see early warning signs of things like heart attacks. I'm not going to preted to know all of the warning signs for heart attacks, but it seems to me that many of them are only valid when certain other factors are present as well. For example, if your heart rate is high, its probably not a warning sign if you are also running a marathon. FTA: "Sensors can also log the three billion or so heartbeats in a person's lifetime, along with other physiological indicators". Yeah, have fun running the queries to search through the roughly 40 million heartbeats you have each year while comparing that to the other important factors that determine heart attacks, and then do it again for other diseases.

I'm sure there are a ton of great uses for this technology. I just don't think that we are anywhere near diong all of the things the article wants, and even if we were, it would end up making more work for people. With that said, consider how this might affect our brains. When I was young, I had my closest friends' phone numbers memorized, along as a few of their addresses. Once I got a cell phone, I slowly forgot every number I knew. Up until a year a year ago, my mom, who just got a cell phone 3 years ago, could remember the number of the first house she lived in. As we develop technology that remembers things for us, what happens to our ability to remember?

Tag as "navelgazing" (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089338)

It's not such a bad thing, really. Navel-gazing is, in some ways, what differentiates humans from all other species. Your dog or your cat never asks where it came from -- or where it's going, for that matter.

The concept isn't that much different from those early web pages, where you posted pictures of your kids as though it was the most amazing thing ever. Now, there's MySpace, which just makes it easier to put your life online. Why not take it one step further, and put your entire existential experience online?

Now, whether your internal dialog about your origins and destinations holds any interest for the rest of humanity... I guess the worst that can happen is that your digitally recorded existance is erased in favor of the latest 3D porn video, but at least you tried.

This can .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18089400)

And will be used against you in a court of law. You are going to jail.

.
.
Beer! It's not just for breakfast anymore!

already doing it (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089482)

Hey, I'm already doing this. My entire life is being recorded, audio, visual, olfactory, the works. And the boring bits are getting edited out automatically, leaving all the interesting and eventful stuff. I can play it back anytime too, although I'm the only one that can view it unfortunately. I've got some accessories that can help with capturing and sharing any important bits with others though. Not much point sharing the dull boring rest of it with others anyway.

Robert Shields (2, Informative)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089494)

This sounds almost as detailed as Robert Shields' [soundportraits.org] diary, except he did all his work on a typewriter!

Over the past 20 years, he has typed between three and six-thousand words each day, keeping a record of everything that happens to him.

SenseCam info (2, Interesting)

autophile (640621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18089714)

Here [microsoft.com] is where you can get more geeky information about the SenseCam that Bell uses. It senses body heat and changes in light level to take pictures which are considered "interesting".

--Rob

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