E-Memory: Can You Record Every Moment of Your Existence?

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It seems like with all of the social media platforms out there, there’s a lot more of our personal information available than there used to be. Is there a limit, though, to how much of our lives we should be recording into digital posterity? As reported by the New Scientist, Gordon Bell, a researcher at Microsoft’s research labs doesn't think so.

Bell has written a book called Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything. In it, he details how to set up your life to make sure it’s entirely recorded for your viewing and information sifting pleasure. He means everything, too - a camera to see what you see, a GPS so you always know where you are, recorded phone calls, conversations, email and web browsing, you name it.

You can then at any time sort and search through this database to "remember” an event with absolute clarity. You can learn things about yourself you’d never know without being a creepy stalker in your own life. How you shop, what you buy, who you talk to and what catches your attention; it's a nice little haul of information.

The problem is, to me, is that it's digital.

I know, I know. "But Jason, you use Facebook! And Foursquare! And Twitter!" Guilty as charged there, and I may be getting ahead of myself here with the risks involved, but when I post where I'm at on Foursquare and broadcast it to Facebook, it’s because I want this information to be known.

I'm selectively updating my "Personal informatics," as the above linked article calls it. What happens if the data I’m mining about my own life is stolen? That would be an admittedly boring YouTube video for my life, but I think the implications of going this far into recording your experiences aren’t being stressed enough.

This would be a gem for advertising companies, identity theft perps (the fastest growing crime, particularly online) and anyone else who could use this information in some nefarious or monetizing way. And with the way the internet is going, I absolutely see this technology touting the ease of storing this data on the fly in the cloud, and as we’ve reported before this newfangled magical “cloud” isn’t as secure as we think it is.

What do you think? Should we err on the side of caution and be skeptical of recording our lives digitally into the ether, or is it time to upload ourselves and think about the consequences later?

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