Monday 23 November 2009

MyLifeBits meets Harry Potter - Our digital memories will remain forever!

Recently I have been looking at the multitude of implications when storing ones memory in a digital format. I have chosen to include the image of Dumbledore storing his own memories in an external pool (pensive) because I think there is an interesting parallel to be made. It always amazes me how something like the idea of a pensive, so grounded in fiction and magic can now, not only be a possibility but a reality! One can now store their memories in an external pool (computer) and even invite other people to share in some of their experiences. These 'bits' of memories, stored in their 'pools,' are shielded from the danger of natural decay in the physical world (and the human condition of forgetting.)

Microsoft's 'MyLifeBits' is probably the most complete example of a life recorded online.

" Gordon Bell has captured a lifetime's worth of articles, books, cards, CDs, letters, memos, papers, photos, pictures, presentations, home movies, videotaped lectures, and voice recordings... [in his digital pool]. He is now paperless, and is beginning to capture phone calls, IM transcripts, television, and radio. "


However my question, as always, is what is to be done with all this information once we have spent our lives accumulating it. How do we begin to edit down a lifetime's worth of information, making it relevant to both our loved ones and society? I begin to question, is this frantic gathering and saving of information a reflection on our culture's in-ability to deal with loss and mortality? Is 'digital memory,' simply a modern search for the fabled philosopher's stone (immortality) and if our information does get passed down as 'digital remains' then have we in some way achieved this goal? Nowadays we tend to keep information simply for the sake of keeping it (because we can) or because we are afraid of losing something we might need? I question whether this really is a good enough reason for it's existence?


  1. We too have been pondering the afterlife of our digital communication. Please see this recent post:

    Would love to know your thoughts.
    Susan Fried Perl

  2. thanks for the share.. black Doors from the dark inside