Total recall

The German magazine DER SPIEGEL (16/2008) features the MyLifeBits project of Gordon Bell – a complete digital memory of all activities of this mega computer scientist. Recorded in particular with a minicam hanging in front of Bell’s chest at all times (except on the loo and during sex – which of course makes everyone instantly think of the sex Gordon Bell might have 😉

MyLifeBits (here’s more) seems to live in the vicinity of the “Total Library” of the fantastic poert Jorge Lluis Borges. The magazine article sees a few good sides to MyLifeBits (data privacy protection is not a big issue if you live entirely on the outside of your body) – nothing of what I ever said, clicked, did, is ever lost. My great-grand-children may themselves sift through “a day in the life of Birkenkrahe“. Bliss or boring? I think probably both. A few weeks ago, I saw a video taken during a conference where I spoke ten years ago. (It was appalling.)

More importantly, something else besides privacy is lost here: data loss might be more important than we usually think. It’s a thought that could be extended to e-learning: forgetting is as important as remembering. Because, what we remember is worth remembering. If we would keep everything we do and see and say (which, in principle, is how our internal memory recorder works – except that we do not have conscious access to the memory bank), everything would potentially be equally important.

So much from the center of my philosophical Sunday afternoon. And now, I will try to forget that I ever wrote this page 😉

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