Some computer researchers, like Gordon Bell from Microsoft Research, have been working for years now on recording everything they experience in their life. One of the questions that always come up about such research is why? For Bell, his goal is to never forget anything. But, would you really want to?
Yesterday, I heard a radio program on Talk of the Nation about being Blessed and Cursed by an Extraordinary Memory. Jill Price, the subject of the program, has a memory where she can recall everything that has happend to her over the past 30 years. The day she first talked to a doctor about her memory capabilities, the exact time of the phone call, the day of the week, what she was wearing, and how she was feeling on that day. According to Price, the ability to never forget anything is great downsides as well as upsides.
While there are numerous advantages that can be listed for being able to remember everything that has happened to you, we have a tendency to ignore the downsides in order to make the advancement. Listening to Price talk about her struggles emotionally with her ability to do exactly what Bell is trying to do made for an interesting juxtaposition of this capability.