A brief and amateur history of memory assistance.
- 1800 – If you’re lucky, you can read and write. If you’re lucky, you’ve got access to paper and writing instruments, and the time to use them. In short, a minority of people can keep a diary. A smaller minority can draw or paint.
- 1900 – It ain’t cheap, but you can get a photograph made of yourself, or some of your life. You’re probably literate, and you have a little more spare time to write things down.
- 1985 – Everyone can afford a camera, so most important events are documented with a few photos. Video cameras are also exploding in popularity, replacing the 8mm film cameras popular with enthusiasts. Computers are coming to the home user, and with them a huge capacity for storing text.
- 2005 – Digital cameras, both video and still, are ubiquitous. The restriction of film has been removed, and the number of images made is increasingly rapidly. Storing and organizing images is easier than ever–no shoeboxes required. We have an infinite capacity for storing text. Blogs have exploded in popularity, making more and more people diarists.
- 2020 – It’s become a simple matter to capture your every experience from birth to death in high-quality video, with tiny cameras embedded throughout your clothes and body (there’s plenty of extra room in your ears, for example). Though we can’t project it straight into your brain yet, all of the data is time and place-logged, and instantly accessable through a variety of mobile devices.
How will my one-month old nephew remember the world, when he’s got all this technology to do it for him?