I think within the next decade it will become quite common for people to be continuously recording everything about themselves, and everything around themselves.
This means 1) things about themselves, such as their vital statistics like heart rate, their activity levels, etc., as well as 2) what they’re saying, what people around them are saying, what they’re seeing, etc.
So that’s audio, video, and other types of data about the particular moment in time. Location, temperature, whatever.
The reasons not to do this are both plentiful and obvious, but the reasons to do it will start to accrue over time. Here are some of them:
- It’s far easier to offer evidence of an event when you can provide timestamped audio and video from your personal recording devices. People who witness fights or accidents or crime can simply send in their Perspective Evidence when something is in dispute
- People have always wanted to remember more about their lives. Photos taken sporadically throughout one’s life are not enough. Even more importantly, most of the best moments in 2016 are still completely missed. Looks of longing. First steps of children. First meetings with a future spouse. These are all lost in the ether today, and have been since the beginning of human existence. What continuous recording does is give the option to capture everything and do something with it later
- Not only can you chronicle a life like this, but you can also avoid missing events you cannot prepare for. A shooting star. An assailant trying to grab your computer bag and run off. A whale breaching next to the boat. Once we’re constantly recording everything, we can simply go back and crop the events into scenes that can serve as the foundations of our memories, as well as being extremely shareable
Blades for handles
It won’t all be good.
I wrote about something similar many years ago, and although the other idea was continuous streaming to live audiences and this one is just recording (often with nobody watching), one major effect will be the same.
If people know that many people are recording and/or streaming, their behavior will change drastically. They’ll become less open. Less loose. Less relaxed.
It could have a significant effect on how people interact with each other. Maybe that effect will be good in some cases (less racism and other types of negativity that would make them look bad in the light), but I could see many negative effects as well.
Services on top
What I find most interesting about this idea is a blend of curation and memories.
Many companies will start around the idea of accessing your recordings and creating a life summary for you. You basically tell the service (or it already knows) what kind of life you wish you lead, or how you’d like to be remembered, and it goes and builds that narrative from your experiences.
You want to be heroic? Here are all the times you offered help to people. Here was that time you gave the homeless family food. Here was that time you broke the car window to get the dog out of the back seat. Here was that time you dove into a pool when a toddler fell in.
Or maybe you want to know how romantic you are. Or how smart. Or how beautiful.
Either way, these services will produce for you a 1-hour movie that shows how amazing you are.
And the ultimate offering is the LifeView video. It’s around 2 hours long. It’s usually done for those who are dying (in their 90’s or 120s), and it gives all perspectives.
Love, loss, fights, friendships, sunsets, drama, laughs, parties, and tears.
These videos can be augmented by the feed data from others, such as your lovers, your friends, your children, and anyone else who cares to share something nice about you.
And it’s all built into the form of a brilliant film, with you as the star, to one end: To show you that you have lived a good life. You’ve done a lot of things. You’ve loved many, and been loved by many.
And you’re now able to pass on.
There will be many uses for continuous recording, but this one—the creation of life validation stories—is the one that will make it ultimately compelling.