Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything by Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell describes the coming revolution in preserving memories. With camcorders, digital cameras, audio recorders, cell phones, scanners, GPS systems , and various additional sensors we can literally preserve everything about our lives, from the conversations we have to the people we meet to the web pages we visit.
“Humans have a natural propensity for recording life. Just look at all the people walking around with cameras and video cams. You’d be hard-pressed to find a home without photo albums, home movies, scrapbooks, and momentos. The one thing many people would be sure to rescue from the flames of a burning home would be their photo albums. We love to reminisce, and if you think of all the photos and home movies taken, it seems we enjoy enhanced reminiscence: not just remembering but also hearing and seeing recordings or artifacts from the past. A few of us go beyond confining ourselves to recordings and objects, and actually edit movies or create scrapbooks with captions and artistic layout. Some even take classes from companies like Creative Memories to learn to do better. The rest of us envy them the time and talent to produce such compelling stories.”
Total Recall highlights the benefits of preserving your electronic record, and while the authors may have an unrealistic expectation that this record will survive for generations, the immediate gain is clear. With total recall, we would no longer have to rely on our memories to recall everything from important events to trivial details. Instead, we would have an actual record of what really happened. Whether that is good or bad, I will leave to you to decide.