26 September 2009

Do you want that on your permanent record?

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Gordon Bell
In his Wall Street Journal De Gustibus column, Eric Felten describes Total Recall, a Microsoft project that will archive every detail of our daily lives.

“A certain kind of techno-triumphalist may find this idea appealing, but I suspect that most of us will be slightly horrified. Do we really need a new and improved way to facilitate self-obsession? Don’t blogs and Twitter provide enough opportunity for recording the stultifyingly mundane? History is the history of people recording selected events in their own lives and in the lives of those around them, as well as their thoughts and emotions about those events. The key word is “selected”: Even the most logorrheic 19th-century letter-writer, with a busy postal service at his disposal, could preserve only a fraction of lived experience. Knowing what to record and what to discard has always been a key definition of smarts; having the capacity to record everything doesn’t necessarily change that. Total Recall promises to make us modern Montaignes but is more likely to turn us into virtual versions of Homer and Langley Collyer.”

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(Read a CNN article/interview about the same topic)

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