Packratting on the Internet

There’s this guy who’s been recording his whole life and putting it on hard drive.  Or CD.  Either way, some are saying he’s “downloading his brain to a computer.”  Not exactly, although putting that description in a headline did catch my attention.

Apparently, Microsoft Researcher Gordon Bell has been digitally recording almost every aspect of his life, from taking pictures of receipts to audio recording every conversation he has in a coffee shop.  He creates PDF’s of every web page he visits, saves every single email he sends or reads, and creates digital copies of his medical files.  After a decade of meticulous collection, he has 350 gb of data stored in multiple “cloud” locations.

Is this the sort of thing we really want to be saving, for all time, in a place that may or may not be secure in years to come?  And is there a rational reason why you’d want to keep, and eventually share, every single conversation you’ve had in your lifetime?  Think about it – if you were to spend the time to listen to audio, watch video, and study digital images of receipts and web pages that belonged to someone else, would you have any room in your life for your own life?  Talk about packratting; we’ve all heard of the little old ladies found dead in their homes behind piles of every newspaper or magazine they ever received.  I view this the same way: packratting of unnecessary information/items.

This is about the strangest thing I think I”ve ever heard of.  There are things people don’t need to know about me, and certainly things I don’t want to be remembered (for).   CNN interviewed Bell, you can read the excerpt of the interview here.