Andrew Krug | Apr 13 2012 06:30 PM
A few months ago, my friend +Nick Crawford and I were pontificating on the future direction that Android, Google’s cell-phone operating system, might take in the future. We eventually found ourselves speaking about life-caching. Nick referenced a book named “Future Files: A History of the Next 50 Years” by futurist Richard Watson. In his book, Watson speaks about an idea called “life-caching.” The concept is that essentially everything you do, every conversation you have, every place you go, everything you look at – literally everything – will be cached for indexing and at your fingertips to reference at a later date.
Almost prophetically, in the last month, reports started to surface about something called “Google Glasses”. Recently we have seen promotional videos and photos of Sergey Brin wearing them in public. Google Glasses, now named “Project Glass” seems like a very real possibility. If you have not had a chance to view the promotional video check it out here.
These “Google Glasses” allegedly communicate directly with the “Cloud” over IP. From the video they seem to be focused on an augmented reality experience with an included front-facing camera. It looks like Richard Watson might be on to something.
Let me be clear about one thing. There is zero evidence that these glasses cache or save anything without explicitly being directed to do so… currently.
However, the possibility of life-caching IS a reality. There are some important questions that need to be addressed if this technology comes to fruition. Would you want to record every conversation you ever had if you could? What about corporate laws? There is legal precedence about personal email being sent using company assets. Granted, the device and the world wide web connection would be paid for personally. It still does not address if the conversations you have at work, during work hours, are property of the company you work for or yourself?
What about expectation of privacy? If you are on private property that you do not own, would you need the consent of individuals present to record them? If one could selectively turn the caching on and off would you be willing to adopt the technology? Could there be a “Do Not Record” database or list? If John Smith is on this list and his likeness, voice, email address, or personal information appear to Google Glass, could they act like the Nixon tapes and stop recording or using the data creating a gap?
What are the ramifications if your every location was recorded? Technically that already occurs passively through our carriers. Actively it occurs through apps like Google Latitude. However, there is a difference as no video or audio recordings of our journey from point to point is recorded by those two sources.
Again, this is all a leap of the imagination based on what we’ve seen through a easy promotional video. However, in 50 years, chips, memory, and technology will be cheaper, faster, and smaller. Perhaps the MPEG15 standard would make creating and storing video content trivial due to compression techniques that have yet to be developed.
More importantly, could your location information be used against you in a court of law? Suppose your public profile showed you were a block away from where a crime was committed. Could law enforcement have probable cause to obtain a warrant to obtain your life-cached information?
Here’s a potential “what if” that life-caching could make possible: While walking down the street, in your peripheral vision you record a crime with your glasses. You may not even realize it if you are looking at the center of the scene. Even if you do not have video of the actual crime, you may have video of the get-away vehicle. Could the police compel you with a search warrant to turn over video if they knew you were in the vicinity at the time the crime was committed?
To make life-caching a reality, the only real bottle neck at this point is a cloud service with enough storage. The connections via 4G are fast enough. We currently can stream live video, instantly upload pictures, and record our own locations with our existing mobile phones. There is just no single service that will store it all via a 24/7 stream. Future connections to this hypothetical server will become even faster when true 4G “LTE-Advanced” is rolled out. Another problem, besides where to store all of that data, is more importantly how to index it for use later. If only a company with search and indexing expertise were behind Google Glass…
Again, I realize we are a ways off from true life-caching as I or Richard Watson describe it. However, the questions need to be asked this day to prepare ourselves for when the answers will be required tomorrow. This type of technology and service will eventually find its way to market. It may not be a collective service package for 5, 10 or 50 years. Assuming the Mayans are wrong, it will occur at some point in the human/technology evolution. I for one would welcome some form of this. I can tell you that as a married dad of two it might lessen the amount of disagreements in my house. As I get older, I also find myself writing things down on more and more sticky notes. Life-caching; think about it.
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Submited at Saturday, April 14th, 2012 at 3:00 pm on Uncategorized by hilman
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