The wheel of life

Posted on January 20, 2006

Round and round and round it goes, where it stops, nobody knows…

(In wich I discuss several random matters that have come to my mind of late.)

It seems I may be getting good at evaluating and making predictions about (other people’s) relationships.
This is not only weird and unexpected but it is also rather creepy…

Last evening I watched (maybe for the 10th time or so) “Broadway Danny Rose” with Tuxa.
I really like that film. In fact I really like most of Woody’s films and as I was chating with Tuxa about the film after it had ended, we came to the conclusion that none of us know anyone else who really likes Woody’s films the way we do.
I know people who dislike them, some with more intensity than others, I know people who are indifferent to them and I know people who think they are, on the whole “OK films”, but no one I know actually loves Woody Allen’s work.
In truth, I know maybe a couple of people who might like them, with whom I haven’t ever discussed it, so maybe there’s a couple of exceptions lurking around… Maybe.
How weird is that? Or, if it comes to that, how weird am I? :-)

Today at lunch (after dutifully having been to the pool for my daily workout in preparation for the upcoming sky week) I was listening to a podcast from IT Conversations with a presentation from Accelerating Change 2005, delivered by Jamais Cascio, entitled “Personal Memory Assistants”.
Now, I had already listened to part of this talk in the past, can’t remember when, so the topic was familiar, but only today did I catch the whole story and I found that it touched me in a way I can’t quite figure out yet.
In a nutshell I took these passages from the talk’s page on the IT Conversation’s site (and I don’t intend to substitute your listening to the presentation, quite the contrary, do go and listen to it):

…There will be an opportunity to view and save everything we do. This is monitoring on a huge scale but we will do it willingly. Moreover, the sheer size of the numbers of people involved will overwhelm any attempts to use this monitoring in a ‘Big Brother’ way….

…In opposition to standard notions of surveillance, this will see the emergence of ‘sousveillance’; individual citizens keeping a technologically watchful eye on the people in charge. This will not apply solely to the> political sphere, however, as the ability to share a treasured moment with a loved one or to capture a fleeting moment of beauty will add a new dimension to personal relationships.

…What’s needed is a TiVo for your personal life and there are already technical solutions available. These capabilities will come at a cost, however. Not only will we have to learn to cope with a staggering lack of privacy but also to overcome the fact that most relationships, whether personal or business, rely to a certain extent on the misremembering of certain events.

The geek in me can see it coming easily enough, most of the components are already here and whatever is left will come by sooner or later, no doubt about that, and I find it fascinating on a pure technological level.
On a personal level, however, I’m just not sure whether I find this too scary or if it is more like something approaching heaven; The fact that I have terrible memory and am easily distracted dictates that I must always try to make notes of whatever seems important at the time, lest I loose it altogether and so an automatic record of my life would be invaluable to me. On the other hand, everyone forgets things and some things are meant to be forgotten and are better that way. Could we cope with perfect memory? Worse still, could we cope with everyone else having perfect memory?
Anyway, the author of the talk does have a valid point: one way, maybe the most effective way, to deal with invasions to our privacy from “above” is to flood the networks with data, that way everyone is under su[r|ous]vaillance and no one is actually under su[r|ous]vaillance…
These are indeed interesting times we are living in.