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Can computers help us remember?

"Memory is full" (cc) by Rutger Middendorp

What if you could Google your own memories and recall details with perfect clarity? What if your iPhone could ensure you never forget to buy birthday gifts for the people you love? Can we trust our own recollections of past events? Will we all have digital assistants in the future?

These are just some of the questions discussed in this 30-minute audio interview with Sunil Vemuri. Sunil spent 2 years digitally recording his own life while he was a researcher at MIT, and went on to found reQall, a company whose product specializes in helping you remember what’s important as you go about your daily life, with a minimum of effort.

Click here to listen to the full MP3 interview. (Length 32:19, Size 31Mb).

Editor’s note: This interview was recorded back in March 2010, as the first episode in a regular Human 2.0 podcast series. Unfortunately, as Human 2.0 is made in our free time, we’ve had to put the podcast plans on hold for the time being. We’re publishing this as a one-off audio post, but watch this space as we may feature more audio content in the future!

Image (cc) by Rutger Middendorp on Flickr.

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The e-memory revolution has begun

Vannevar Bush's Memex concept, from 1945

In this Sep 2009 episode of NPR’s On Point, Tom Ashbrook interviews Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell, authors of the new book “Total Recall: The E-memory revolution”. Gordon Bell has, for over ten years, been digitizing his entire life as part of the MyLifeBits project, inspired by the concept of a “Memex” (pictured left), put forward by Vannevar Bush in 1945. Bell outsources much of his memory to computer systems designed to make him more effective. The book (and the podcast) explore the ways in which this e-memory revolution has already begun and will transform aspects of society from privacy and healthcare to learning and extra-marital affairs.

Listen to the episode (streaming audio provided by NPR).

Image credit: Memex image by p373 on Flickr

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