"Total Recall", book review

“Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything” is a book written by Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell, former researchers at Microsoft Research. The book is dedicated to their of colleague, Jim Gray, who was lost at sea in 2007.
The forward is written by Bill Gates: “What would happen if we could instantly access all the information we were exposed to throughout our lives?…”
OK…I’ll take it further: what if every piece of information there ever was could be accessed? We’re not there, and I doubt that we will ever get there. But, what if?…
(And, we’re off and running.)
Here’s a small pre-summary. This book should be a good read for various kinds of people. Like people who collect…anything. Those interested in data management. Those who have a difficult time being organized, and those who are very organized. What to keep. How to keep it. It covers a broad scope of considerations for many.
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Chapter 1, third paragraph: “…each day I’m losing a little bit more of my mind. By the way, so are you.”
That should have been the first paragraph. But…oh, well. It’s a very powerful, and true, statement.
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There’s mention of the movie “The Final Cut”, which I’ve never seen…but the description of it in the book has made me want to. Per Lions Gate Films: …“The Final Cut” is set in a world where “Zoë Chips” are placed in the brain at birth to record one’s entire life, providing footage which is edited into a “Rememory”—a film shown at your funeral…
The book also explains that “cutters can make ‘saints out of criminals'” as a character in the movie “does with the life of a child abuser. The movie also shows protesters with placards demanding ‘the right to forget’ and darkly depicts the lengths to which some people might be willing to go to get their hands on the private life recordings of a political enemy.”
Interesting. The “flip-side”, if you will. What about considerations for those who prefer the naturalness of not being able to remember everything? I’ve never considered that there are some who appreciate that part of humanity.
I have often thought about what “data” I want to be available to certain people after I’m dead. And have considered plans on how to make it obvious.
There are things I have gained acces to on storage devices and networks that I’m sure others had no intention for anyone to know about. I’ve often thought about how they might feel if they learned that I, or someone, was aware of something that was thought to be private. (I’ve never revealed to anyone that I am aware of their secrets…I do want a lot of people to know how much they can trust me, but I suspect telling them could cause them embarassment and make them uneasy. I don’t want to do that to them.)
As stated in the book, there are many benefits to being able to access elusive data. And, there can be negative results for some in being able to recall bad memories.
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In Part Two of the book, Chapter 6, the position is taken that: “Textbooks should be replaced by tablets, notebooks, PDAs, or evern cell pones…”
And I STRONGLY agree. It is in the best interest of this country, our communitities, and our families for our populace to have access to as much information as possible as conveniently as possible. How to do so is a different extensive debate for other venues. If we don’t lead, odds are we shall follow…
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When I went to the book’s website, I was surprised to find a quote from the CEO of Evernote. But it passed… after all, we are considering saving “everything”.

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