A View from Brad King

Saving Your Memory, One Week at a Time

Microsoft senior researcher Gordon Bell is digitizing his life – archiving photographs, videos, and e-mails on his PC.

  • August 16, 2006

I’m not sure whether Microsoft senior researcher Gordon Bell is a genius or slightly mad, but I’ve become intrigued by his ongoing experiment to document and categorize all of his “memories.”

Bell became intrigued by memory – specifically why people can recall throwaway lines from television shows but not their best friend’s birthday. Eight years ago, he decided that he would begin recording, digitizing, and storing as much information as he could – turning his daily life and all of his memories into a searchable archive.

From the Popular Science article:

In 1998 Bell, a senior researcher at Microsoft, began digitally capturing his entire life for a project he calls MyLifeBits. First, he scanned his old photographs, research documents, and notes. Then he began recording his meetings and phone calls and cataloguing his new photos and movies he saw. Every e-mail exchange he had was digitally archived, and he started using the company’s prototype SenseCam, which he wears around his neck, to automatically snap photos throughout the day.

His project has turned into the MyLifeBits research project, which continues at Microsoft.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.
Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

You've read of free articles this month.