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Digital memory

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We don't have to remember what we can look up on the Internet. We can take thousands of photos easily, so a lot of our memories are "backed up" by pictures. We no longer just remember the trip to some place (as our parents did), we have a few hundreds of images, documenting every significant aspect of it.

Projects are underway to make it possible to record audio, images and video and organize it all for easy retrieval.

Current hardware makes it possible to record and store a constant videofeed of a human life. Steve Mann does it already.

The information can then be organized on a timeline, geographically (using GPS data), using contexts (automatically determined using time and location) such as "in a restaurant" or "at work", additional information such as keywords, folders and comments.

Some information can be extracted from the images (using image processing) and audio (using speech recognition). Some rudimentary algorithms already exist for searching through audiovisual data.

A number of companies are developing projects related to such digital memories. One such project is MyLifeBits from Microsoft Labs.

As usual, Trendwatchin has an insightful overview of emerging life caching trend with lots of examples.

  • O'Reilly: The File Manager Is Dead. Long Live the Lifeblog - Nokia's project to organise the memories collected through the mobile phone. While by itself it's just a PC image database and a photoblog extention, the articles goes much further in thinking about the trends of gradually developing external digital memories.

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