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Life Recorders May Be This Century’s Wrist Watch (techcrunch.com)
30 points by malte on Sept 7, 2009 | hide | past | favorite | 39 comments



I wonder what the legal implications of wearing a wire all the time are? 'cause it would actually help me out quite a bit, at least if there was a way for me to easily add tags (or otherwise make it search able)


As long as the data remains yours and you're its handler, why would there be any intrinsic legal implication to wearing that kind of stuff? It'd be no different than carrying an always on camcorder.

Though I think that box is ugly and impractical, I'll wait for artificial eyes or systems tapping the optic nerve.


why would there be any intrinsic legal implication to wearing that kind of stuff?

For one, in many states it is illegal to record a conversation without the consent of all parties. (In most states it is illegal to record a conversation without the consent of at least one party to it.)

You'd literally bump into people at the supermarket and say "My, what a beautiful child you have and BY THE WAY I'm wearing a discrete wire please don't talk unless you want it recorded."


There was talk in Maryland about criminal prosecution of Linda Tripp for recording Monica Lewinski back in the 90s. I said at the time, that laws like that just prove that legislators are crooks, since the only benefit of those types of laws is for liars. There is no law against one party repeating what another party told them, the only thing this type of law does is to prevent proving who is lying.


There may well be copyright implications too.

You might be recording images & audio without the rights to do so.


Just another example of how pathetic the current views on copyright are.

I wonder if you could prosecute a person with photographic memory for the very same thing: "recording" images and audio without the rights to do it.


It's not such a crazy question. If the person reproduced the work, certainly.

However, there is also part of copyright that involves "fixing" a work in a medium so that it can be reproduced. With the rather vague caveat of unless it's for "transitory duration".

There is even debate on if a RAM buffer constitutes infringement. If I recall some lectures on this Sony ran into this problem when they started offering RAM buffering on their CD Discman devices (although the issue goes right back).

However, this recently got challenged with a series of decisions that went the other way - RAM buffers were fine - These decisions had more of a focus on the "economic value" that can be derived from a copy... It also accepted the fact that the practice is widespread and essential in most electronic devices.

So in light of the later trend... You're probably ok.


Y'all should check out the movie The Final Cut ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Final_Cut_(2004_film) http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2978742553/ ). Not only is this one of the best Robin Williams movies I've seen, but it is also one of the best sci-fi films I've seen in a while.


Strange Days is another variation of the theme: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114558/


Rather than just collecting data as a reference, I really like the idea of analysing what I've been doing (often wasting time!) and taking the chance to live my life better in future.


As long as you don't always record yourself analysing the recordings of what you've been doing - otherwise you're going to have some interested video feedback :)

Also, think of all the time you will waste analysing that you have indeed wasted time. It will mean you just end up wasting even more time ;)


Real analysis is going to have to wait until there is some way to automate the process, at least partially, unless you want to spend a third of your day analyzing what you did on the other two-thirds.


My collaborator Ted Nelson (of Xanadu fame) has been carrying a camcorder to record (on hundreds of tapes) just about every conversation with people he's met, for about 30 years. Pretty ahead of his time, I guess. I'm on some of his tapes too, which is nice.


Isn't that what Andy Warhol used to do?


Have any of you read David Brin's "Transparent Society" http://www.amazon.com/Transparent-Society-Technology-Between... He makes the argument that universal monitoring is going to happen, almost certainly, and the only real alternatives is who gets to watch, just the gov't, or will we get to keep an eye on the gov't too?


In the long run this will be revolutionary for society. The benefits of being able to observe videos of ones self in sport are well recognised and they should carry over to ordinary life as well. 'Know thyself' could finally be possible (as long as you have the time to watch the 'logs').

For society it should bring in huge reductions in crime as well as many types of deceptive behaviour. Combined with reputation management people would have a bigger incentive to do good.

Society will probably need to adjust to a few 'minority' behaviours somewhat analogous to homosexuality. Those who had recognisably harmful conditions would be able to identify them and have access to help.

I'm sure there will also be some problems, but they will be dwarfed by the benefits. Data is power.


This sounds like about the worst idea I've ever heard of. Big brother's ultimate fantasy.


as if the intrusions in life and privacy aren't enough already.

just reads like the novel 'The prometheus deception'. The worst part of this post is that Arrington makes it sound as if it is a great idea, and very much needed.


It's only Big Brother-ish if people don't control the information. Otherwise, it's Big Brother's worst nightmare.


I think I'm a reasonably private person, bit of twitter no photo's + no facebook but I suspect I'd buy one of these and wear one once in a while.

If use of these was as widespread as say twitter, then there's countless things I'd be interested in, imagine you could sit in at houses of parliament when "Xyz" law was passed 4 years later.


I voted yes. I'd definitely get one of these if it was affordable and discreet (or otherwise fashionable).

I'd even consider broadcasting everything live most of the time.. but not 100% of the time.

I think the realism of this device depends on the stage of your life and work, too. For example, within the context of a start-up, I'd definitely not want the photo of every person I meet broadcast to the world. However, within the context of blogging and being an online personna, if that was my full-time job (and who knows, it may get to that later on), this device would be great.


I thint this thing would be very useful even if not connected to web. If it could write everything to disk, not to web. Of course - volume of its memory will have to be enormous.

Also - it has to encrypt data with private key, and public key will be safe in home, so nobody can see your whole life when you will lost this thing, or sbd will steal it.

About crime prevention etc - there should be button that starts sending all data to police without encrypting it in real time.

I would buy one.


It will lead to a whole new level of celebrity culture. If you're interested in someone's life, then you can watch it live! Either that or it will kill all interest as people realise how mundane other people's lives are.

Also, has anyone read Halting State by Charles Stross? In that book life recorders are commonly used by, for example, the local police force in their day-to-day investigations.


Crowdsourcing meets 1984...


I read a good sci-fi book recently about the possibilities for a device like this. (It was the one about orcs raiding an MMORPG bank in Scotland and causing a financial panic. I don't remember the title but if you Google it you should probably find it fairly quickly.)

They didn't tag the people -- they tagged the cops. I'd be 150% in favor of that -- the camera preserves all the evidence impartially, regardless of whether it shows the cop in the right or in the wrong, and the minority of bad apples would probably clean up their act a bit if they knew they were being watched by something they could not intimidate or cajole into silence. Plus as a public servant, while they are on the clock, cops have zero expectation of privacy.

If I had my druthers I'd give them to everyone with a badge and make their use compulsory 100% of the time when in uniform, with a 5 minute time-out button for bathroom breaks which, if you punch in the middle of a traffic stop, means you lose your badge.

See the book for how it would revolutionize policing. The cops could use simple voice commands to produce authenticated timestamps for, e.g, arrests and collecting evidence. It would greatly simplify arrest reports and the like. It would make a HUGE portion of criminal cases even more open and shut than they already are -- "Look, we've got you on video swinging your fist at a cop. Please guilty to the possession charge and resisting arrest, or you'll be convicted of assault."


'halting state'.


"It was the one about orcs raiding an MMORPG bank in Scotland and causing a financial panic."

Thank you for that summary - much more understandable than what they say at Amazon. I think I might even own the book already but gave up on reading it. Perhaps with your info I can gibe it another shot.


The big problem in 1984 is that observation is only one way. But, if everyone can watch everyone, then I don't think it's a problem. This pretty much exists today in small towns and villages.


It is really fascinating to see the oppositional reactions to this idea. It seems like either people love it or they are really scared (like me) and cannot understand why other people would like it. This is also reflected in the poll results on TC (so far).


There's another point of view, which is found e.g. in David Brin's "The transparent society": privacy is inevitably going to be more or less a thing of the past pretty soon, so the challenge is to find a way to make that not end up benefiting the people with power and completely screwing the people without. Brin thinks it can be done...


I can see a device like this embedded in the line just above the windshield in cars. Instant black box, accident investigations would become a lot easier.

Not sure if I'd like the privacy issues resulting from that though.


I've lost count of the times my wife has said: "I never said that..." And I thought, "Damn, I wish I had recorded that conversation... if only there was a device..."


full on information over load, i can hardly keep up with the digital photos between my laptop, desktop and iphone.


i want this now, I've been trying to monitor what I'm doing using a mashup of rescue time, saving tweets, but an auto camera and audio recorder? perfect.

Speaking of, has anyone ever filmed themselves to see how they interact in social situations?


> Speaking of, has anyone ever filmed themselves to see how they interact in social situations?

Not directly, but enough to know that Me + Spice Girls + Bourbon != Positive Social Interaction


I don't want my ancestors knowing about some of the things i lookup on the internet just for giggles... or seeing how many times i turn the device off while sitting at the computer.


I don't have to worry about that, my ancestors are all dead; or did you mean descendents?


"Imagine a small device that you wear on a necklace that takes photos every few seconds of whatever is around you, and records sound all day long"

Your own personal NSA.


Consider changes for crime and evidence sitauation. Especially against drunk people and in countries (like my native Sweden) where the police force isn't functional.

Consider generation two, when loggers have monitoring of e.g. blood pressure and pulse -- and automatic notification of ambulances.

I want one, too. (No, I don't drink much!)




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