Soon you will be able, if you choose, to record every moment of your life. That’s the basic premise behind Total Recall. When people hear this, they immediately think of rolling video 24×7. While that will be possible, I think video (and audio) recording will remain limited for a long time as society works out the issues. But some other aspects of life-logging will gain traction quickly. How about having every word you have ever read in your life only a few keystrokes away? Or a map of every place you visited on your summer vacation, with the detail of each street you walked down, and the exact time? Or a exhaustive record of your health? These are just a few of the great applications of life-logging discussed in the book that I believe will immediately gain acceptance and lead to tremendous changes in learning, work, healthcare, and more.
That said, “limited” video recording in the coming decade will represent a radical change. Instead of 24×7, suppose you had only around ten minutes a day of video over the course of your life. Suppose a lot of the video was little 5-second “cliplets” looking around a room, catching a friend laughing, or having the kids say hello. Suppose vacations and birthday parties have relatively more clips, and maybe they’re a little longer, say, a minute or two. You play sports, and your games are recorded, with your highlight-reel moments flagged. Now, compared to 24×7 lifelong recording, that’s still pretty skimpy. But compared to the record of virtually any person from the twentieth century it is an absolute windfall of memories. What I wouldn’t give for even one minute a day of my grandfather’s life.
The ability to record everything, even if not completely exploited, will still lead to a revolution in our lives.