What if you could record every moment of your life in a searchable digital file? It may soon be possible.
If Microsoft’s MyLifeBits Project seems a bit Orwellian to you, consider that it has its roots in the 1945 vision of Vannevar Bush who envisioned a desktop “device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.”
Bush called his dream contraption a “memex.” Today you might call it a PC.
Microsoft is taking a two-pronged approach to realizing Bush’s vision – investigating lifelong storage on the one hand while developing appropriate software on the other. For the past decade, Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell has been putting the concept to the test, creating an ever-expanding digital record of his life.
Stefani Twyford, a videographer and blogging friend from Houston, Texas, brought the project to my attention while raising the question: Is this really a good idea? My short answer is “I don’t think so.” You can find my long answer in the comments section of Stefani’s blog.
What do you think? Would such a comprehensive digital record be of value or interest to your descendants?
Gordon Bell on cover of Fast Company magazine courtesy of brewbooks.