Monday, November 2, 2009

Total Recall

I watched the authors of Total Recall describe how they’d scanned in their whole lives - receipts, medical records, medals, contracts, business plans, emails, phone calls ... - and developed software to organize it. They gave examples of using the bits to find forgotten items, a phrase from an email, the name of a contact, ...

I search my email this way too, and sometimes the whole internet, and finding that phrase or name releases more of the related memory. Yet I began to think about information overload and time and realize that the amount of time looking backward through this material is time not looking forward and time not in the present and I wonder how having access to so much of one’s own history, one’s DigitalMe, will impact musing, daydreaming, philosophizing, the ability to wander around in one’s mind, rummage through.

I had reluctances when library card catalogs - the serendipity of browsing through the authors - became electronic, and I’ve learned a different kind of browsing.

So possibly with total recall, there will evolve a different kind of remembering and creating. And our plastic brains will adapt. Will we recognize ourselves?

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