Total Recall

I’m interested in human memory. I’m interested in memory because while I sometimes have trouble with my own, I’ve been watching my mother lose hers completely. She was first diagnosed with MCI – mild cognitive impairment about three years ago. It manifest as short term memory loss, which came on quite suddenly after a nasty fall she took about two years previous to onset. At first she had trouble remembering sort of minor things – what she had for breakfast, hair appointments, and so forth. Over the past 18 months, her MCI has become much more severe. Much more.

At first, I read everything I could get my hands on about Alzheimer’s Disease. Not the most uplifting topic, but there you have it.  As mom’s situation has progressed and become part of our family’s daily lives, I’ve begun to think more about memory as the faculty that defines us as humans – that we are our memories.

Cover of Your Life, UploadedI’ve moved beyond reading about Alzheimer’s solely into more general topics having to do with memory – what it is, how it works, and most importantly how to preserve it. (Genetics, you know.)

I’m just finishing a book by Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell called Your Life, Uploaded. It originally came out in 2009 under the title Total Recall.  It’s one of the more interesting books I’ve read in a while. Bell set out to keep a complete electronic record of his life creating what he calls e-memory.He saves, scans, uploads, downloads every aspect of his life. He calls it lifelogging – not to be confused with lifeblogging. (Speaking of blogs, here’s how to get to theirs.) His intent is not to blast his life all over the Web – his intent is to create as complete a record of his life as possible for his private use as he sees fit.

His idea of e-memory has ramifications for education, health, work, and personal life. This is both a idea book and a book that make you want to start building your own e-memory. If I’m destined to lose my bio-memory, I better start creating my e-memory now.

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