October 11, 2005

Human-scale storage

In eWeek's article,  'Future' Reviews Human-Machine Connection Jim Louderback quoted Rick Rashid of Microsoft on the subject of "human-scale storage":
Rashid led off with two topics that will soon change everything.
"One is human-scale storage," Rashid said, "to keep all the relevant information a person might generate in a lifetime with them wherever they go."
Soon terabyte hard drives will be common, he went on; hard drives big enough to store every conversation you've ever had in your life, or to take a picture every minute, even while you're asleep. He described a research project in Microsoft's Cambridge, England facility that is essentially a "black box for humans." Chock-full of sensors, accelerometers and motion detectors, it takes a picture every time something changes. It's being considered as a way of helping patients with non-severe memory loss, to let them keep and summarize memories at the end of the day. London police are even interested in using it to help solve crimes.
I'm fascinated by how very small sensors and mass storage devices, combined with natural language interfaces and search technologies, could revolutionize our daily lives. Soon we will be able to record everything in out lives. Every item we value will be able to be tagged, located, and identified from a distance. Once we can access this kind of data anywhere, how will we use the power?
We will be in a situation where we need never be out of touch, never be lost, never forget anything, never loose anything of value, ever again. Kids born today will look at us strangely when we tell them that we once forgot birthdays of lost our keys or cell phones. And we won't be sure if they are reacting to us losing something, or to the anachronism of physical locks and voice only mobile comms.
Posted by georgegmacdonald at 03:44 PM