Thursday, September 23, 2010

Idea #8: Circle of Life

An MIT classmate of mine, Matt Harper, presented an interesting concept to me over a beer at The Muddy a few months ago called "Circle of Life". We discussed and matured the concept over a couple beers and I think it's worth sharing here. The concept is about using technology and digital computation to enhance our lives in the real world, a theme which I have been driving towards in my posts lately.

The concept is this.. we're all walking around every day with device in our pocket that can help sense, record, photograph, capture, and geolocate the world around us and our activities within it. What I would really enjoy using is a simple "invisible" smartphone application that is purely about capturing a moment into a digital timeline of a life. By invisible I mean that you wouldn't have to spend a second of time interfacing with the application - just take the picture and continue with what you're doing.  What I'm talking about here is much less Facebook and much more a location-aware time capsule. It's about utilizing technology to enrich the memory of our experiences, and not using it for a distraction from them.

Consider leaving an audio message from a kid every year on his birthday, something that persists across devices and does not get lost in the clutter of comments and drunken photos. Or, what I think is even more interesting, capturing an important event at a specific location and it only gets discovered when your family or friends (real ones, not Facebook connections) passes through that spot. Consider what that would mean to someone 20, 30, or 100 years from now. I could see wanting to develop a range of visual narratives for the different phases of life, such as work, school, etc.

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