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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.

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