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Total Recall: How The E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything

THE TOTAL RECALL REVOLUTION IS INEVITABLE. IT WILL CHANGE WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN. IT HAS ALREADY BEGUN. What if you could remember everything? Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell draw on their experience from their MyLifeBits project at Microsoft Research to explain the benefits to come from an earth-shaking and inevitable increase in electronic memories. In 1998 they began using Bell, a luminary in the computer world, as a test case, attempting to digitally record as much of his life as possible. Photos, letters, and memorabilia were scanned. Everything he did on his computer was captured. He wore an automatic camera, an arm-strap that logged his bio-metrics, and began recording telephone calls. This experiment, and the system they created to support it, put them at the center of a movement studying the creation and enjoyment of e-memories. Since then the three streams of technology feeding the Total Recall revolution—digital recording, digital storage, and digital search, have become gushing torrents. We are capturing so much of our lives now, be it on the date- and location-stamped photos we take with our smart phones or in the continuous records we have of our emails, instant messages, and tweets--not to mention the GPS tracking of our movements many cars and smart phones already do automatically. We are storing what we capture either out there in the “cloud” of services such as Facebook or on our very own increasingly massive and cheap hard drives. But the critical technology, and perhaps least understood, is our magical new ability to find the information we want in the mountain of data that is our past. And not just Google it, but data mine it so that, say, we can chart how much exercise we have been doing in the last four weeks in comparison with what we did four years ago. In health, education, work life, and our personal lives, the Total Recall revolution is going to change everything. As Bell and Gemmell show, it has already begun. Total Recall provides a glimpse of the near future. Imagine heart monitors woven into your clothes and tiny wearable audio and visual recorders automatically capturing what you see and hear. Imagine being able to summon up the e-memories of your great grandfather and his avatar giving you advice about whether or not to go to college, accept that job offer, or get married. The range of potential insights is truly awesome. But Bell and Gemmell also show how you can begin to take better advantage of this new technology right now. From how to navigate the serious question of privacy and serious problem of application compatibility to what kind of startups Bell is willing to invest in and which scanner he prefers, this is a book about a turning point in human knowledge as well as an immediate practical guide. Total Recall is a technological revolution that will accomplish nothing less than a transformation in the way humans think about the meaning of their lives. Watch a Video

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Dutton (September 17, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0525951342

ISBN-13: 978-0525951346

Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches

Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #833,004 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #13 in Books > Computers & Technology > Programming > Algorithms > Memory Management #340 in Books > Computers & Technology > Computer Science > Human-Computer Interaction #584 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Bioengineering > Biotechnology

On his website, The Technium, Kevin Kelly (of Wired and Whole Earth fame)writes about "What Technology Wants."Here's what IT wants - "Everything, Everywhere, All the Time."In IT's strive toward omniscience, it's clear that the next key piece isTotal Recall of all personal, individual memories.Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell lay out precisely how and why that will happen. I've been in the memory business for over 40 years:first as a student of neurobiology at MIT, then as an AI researcher at Stanford,and finally as a physician. (Search "Bob Blum" for my essays onmachine consciousness and other Big Questions.) I had heard of Gordon Bell for decades, but had never met himuntil recently when I heard Gordon and Jim present this workat the (Xerox) PARC Forum. (That video is now on the PARC Forum archive).That prompted me to buy the book. Despite being age 75, Gordon is a lively, energetic spiritwho readily deflected my public query/position ,"don't neuroscientists consider forgetting to be crucialas a means of increasing memory relevance?"(My concern then and still is on maintaining high signal to noise ratio -quieting the mind to achieve the zen of pure signal.) Young Jim Gemmell is also bright and engaging.Although I'm guessing that Jim contributed half of the leg work,the book is presented as a first person account of Gordon's 75 year life.The work is a delightful combination of the future of personal data captureas well as a recounting of their experiences with MyLifeBits, a system implementation.That work was presented in Scientific American in March 2007 online - qv.

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