Techno-Narcissism – Life in “Record” Mode


Digital tools are getting inexpensive, smaller and higher all the time, from cameras and MP3 gamers to the latest little netbooks and GPS devices. Every gadget and gee-gaw has its apparent feature, however, it is within the not-so-apparent combos of these new technologies that we find the excitement and eternal newness that we seem to crave. We additionally discover a few really stupid ideas, alongside accurate ones that we become bored of, so there is a regular inflow of “new and progressed.”

For instance, Chrysler says that it’ll begin a construct-to-order software in 2009, for 2010 models, providing a 3G-to-Wi-Fi device so that it will help you cruise the dual carriageway and surf the internet at the same time. Drivers can use voice commands to carry out commonplace features wired into the car structures, at the same time as passengers can link up to our online world with any Wi-Fi-successful PDA, iPod, laptop or different excessive-tech doohickey. Think of all of the combinations possible with this kind of devices.

Still, one of the extra intriguing possibilities combines a losing concept of Bill Gates’ that nobody even talks approximately anymore. He first added it up inside the mid-Nineteen Nineties, but it become quick laughed away. However, the jabbermeisters of the Internet are beginning to percolate on the situation once more, when you consider that it is apparent that Microsoft “researchers” never stopped operating on it up there in the Pacific Northwest.

Microsoft researchers are growing a manner to enable you to capture every moment of your existence and store it for your computer. The major researcher with Microsoft’s studies arm, Gordon Bell, is developing a way for all and sundry to don’t forget the one’s unique moments. The nine-yr assignment, called MyLifeBits, has Bell supplementing his very own memory by way of collecting as an awful lot of records as he can approximately his existence. He’s trying to store a lifetime on his computer. He’s gone on to gather snapshots of every Web web page he is ever visited, television suggests he’s watched, recorded cell phone conversations, and pictures and audio from conference sessions, alongside along with his email and on the spot messages. Calculating that he saves approximately a gigabyte of information every month, he noted that he tries to best save photographs of a megabyte or much less. Bell figures one should shop everything about his lifestyles, from begin to complete, using a terabyte of the garage.

Six months of replies and ripostes have created a totally wonderful internet page, and all of the objections that might be raised towards this, well, “totalizing” belief probably have been raised. Number crunchers dispute the storage calculation, whilst privateness advocates had a rating of targets amongst the ones few hundred phrases. Yet this type of wondering should subject all and sundry, due to the fact the relentless march of development will make the system needed to tug off a MyLifeBits-type operation, like all digital toys and tools, cheaper, smaller and higher as time passes.

Completing the circle No, the thing failed to get off track. It simply took some time to get around the subject’s ever-widening circle. Remember the new Chrysler options, the roving Wi-Fi and the voice-commanded, overall-digitized multimedia experience? Now take into account, too, that you will be capable of outfit your vehicle with a lower backup digicam from the choice list – and if the car businesses do not add a camera up front for you, you may just get the Voyager Pro and report video, time and GPS region to an SD card (with capacities up to 8GB and 16GB, depending on whether you use the SD or SDHC layout).

So, permit’s add all of it up. With off-the-shelf tech gear and build-to-order additives from the car manufacturer, you could record the whole lot you do in or out of your automobile. But I can pay attention a number of you asking, Why no longer simply say you may report your whole day and be done with it, what’s this approximately the automobile?

The car is the Trojan Horse. Car cams are the manner to make this form of pastime proper. Look on the records of automobile video, as a subset of the history of video safety and video surveillance: As quickly because the technology got cheap enough, video cameras started being hooked up in police automobiles. They have confirmed beneficial, and not just in apprehending drug runners on I-95 in Florida or coyotes careening via the desert with a pickup mattress complete of day laborers. The recordings have additionally nailed police officers inside the act of brutalizing girls drivers and tipping over soda machines.

Ways and memes So we may additionally recognize how this meme, this new and nearly subconscious cultural recognition of “a recorded life,” propagates. First, it is inside the vehicles, then everywhere else. Let’s step again and assume in which this will lead. The first factor you ought to don’t forget, that’s honestly one of the matters most of the people do not forget in any respect, is how smooth it is to edit, delete, upload to, subtract from or in any other case adjust a virtual video report, with or without audio. An artsy-techie geek (may additionally I coin an acronym here, ATG?) can, without too much problem, show you crashing your 1998 Jeep Cherokee into the facet of the Pentagon. And good day, is not that Dick Cheney using a shotgun?

Computer forensics being what it’s miles – a new field whose right guys ought to examine a few dirty doggone stuff to be the main facet – there is just no way that the average character might be able to authenticate a virtual percent or video clip. The believe level, initially, can be nil, nada, zero, zip and fuggedaboudit. And it really is now not all, of course. The quirky nature of the corporation shows a boatload of lawsuits – curious, spurious and no doubt livid, as nicely – over copyrights, trademark infringement, invasion of privateness and (clearly) discrimination, sexual harassment, and racism.

Chinese Menu Gadget Development All of this stuff show up. Every terrible thing that may arise inside the international, does. Of direction, there are folks who videotape movies inside the theater, use ethnic slurs, peek up women’s dresses and do not return wallets they find at the bus. They are going to have a variety of modifying to do until they get the “voice-command alternative” and stroll around all day half-barking “Start!” and “Stop!” orders to their shirt-button zoom-lens recorders.

In truth, this can be simply Chinese Menu Gadget Development at work all over again. Some of those technology combinations may additionally just be answers on the lookout for very particular (picayune?) issues, while others are simply downright stupid. There can be a few uses for the front- and rear-facing cameras in vehicles, inasmuch as providing extra viewing capability to a motive force is a good aspect. You may additionally even have an excellent cause, occasionally, to file the snapshots being captured by one or each camera.

You additionally can be well served on occasion by way of a portable video recorder, however now not always a tiny spycam on your baseball cap or behind your 2d blouse button. And you clearly do not want one it’s continually on. And that’s due to the fact, you notice, most of what happens in our lives is habitual, uneventful, mundane, even silly and useless – infrequently the kind of material the general public want to memorialize. Think of it this way: When everybody in magnificence gets an “A” there may be no better, worse, common or “wishes development”; when everyone is an “honored scholar” at Podunk Middle School you can guess there are not any actual “honor students” there; and if the whole lot is accorded the repute of a recorded “existence spotlight,” then, of route, there are not any highlights. In this milieu there is not anything unique, length.

The default role There are five or six greater articles brewing to take care of all of the tangents leading off from this one. We’ve just barely touched on the criminal issues involved, and had room for most effective quick mentions of the political, psychological, emotional and technological aspects of the issue. Yet we will still come to 1 essential end here, and that concerns the “default position” that we’d assign to such devices as we use for video protection, video surveillance, self-protection, assets protection and even private picture taking.

Since most of our day is pedestrian stuff; because most of what we are saying isn’t always the least bit memorable; seeing that we already realize what the hallway from the bedroom to the dwelling room looks like; and because it does not take a whole lot effort inside the age of cell phone cameras and $nine one-use videocams to snap a % or shoot a video of something simply unique – for some of these reasons and so many greater, expensive reader, the default role for any sort of MyLifeBits unit have to be “off.”