My pal and collaborator Charlie Stross, a Hugo-winning SF writer, published the text of a lovely little speech he's just given about the nature of the future. From the section labelled "Putting it all together" and onward, it's pure gonzo-Strossian skiffy goodness:
10Tb is an interesting number. That's a megabit for every second in a year – there are roughly 10 million seconds per year. That's enough to store a live DivX video stream – compressed a lot relative to a DVD, but the same overall resolution – of everything I look at for a year, including time I spend sleeping, or in the bathroom. Realistically, with multiplexing, it puts three or four video channels and a sound channel and other telemetry – a heart monitor, say, a running GPS/Galileo location signal, everything I type and every mouse event I send – onto that chip, while I'm awake. All the time. It's a life log; replay it and you've got a journal file for my life. Ten euros a year in 2027, or maybe a thousand euros a year in 2017. (Cheaper if we use those pesky rotating hard disks – it's actually about five thousand euros if we want to do this right now.)
Why would anyone want to do this?
I can think of several reasons. Initially, it'll be edge cases. Police officers on duty: it'd be great to record everything they see, as evidence. Folks with early stage neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimers: with voice tagging and some sophisticated searching, it's a memory prosthesis.
Add optical character recognition on the fly for any text you look at, speech-to-text for anything you say, and it's all indexed and searchable. "What was the title of the book I looked at and wanted to remember last Thursday at 3pm?"
Think of it as google for real life.
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