Your New Digital SuperpowerYour New Digital Superpower https://www.citizenme.com/public/wp/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/FaceInWater_3_Eric-Trezza.jpg 850 560 StJohn Deakins StJohn Deakins https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/67e7ca4885d1b922783ca3a83741a282?s=96&d=mm&r=g
You have a new superpower. It’s hidden. It’s yours to claim.
It will increasingly describe who we are, not only to others, but more profoundly, to ourselves too.
Our memories shape who we are: our experiences, our loves and losses, our achievements and failures, our moments of joy, despair, anguish, ecstasy, boredom, revelation, realisation, delight and more. In other words, our memories shape how we see ourselves in our minds eye, our internal mirror, and how we describe ourselves to others.
“Memory is identity….You are what you have done; what you have done is in your memory; what you remember defines who you are; when you forget your life you cease to be, even before your death.”
― Julian Barnes, Nothing to Be Frightened of
Now, we have an entirely new type of Memory: an external mirror that becomes more detailed with our every thought and action. It is the growing data trail that we create every second, both in real life and digitally. It’s all the data in the world that exists about you; your “me data”. MeData could provide us all with a powerful additional record of all of our life events. A private reflection of who we are. A personal digital twin that doubles our brain power. In doing so, our relationships with the people and things around us will undoubtedly change dramatically.
For example, simply, buying a new pair of sport shoes, turns a sales receipt (soon lost), into a stored record of not just where, when and why you bought them. But also how you felt when you first put them on, your heart rate during your first workout, and the effect that the exercise done in them has had on your physical and mental health over time.
More intimately, do you remember the fine-grained detail of the moment you met your first love? Did your heart race? What were you wearing? What did you both say? What did you do next?
Of course, even these powerful memories fade with time. But as our new superpower develops we will have the choice to recall all of our life moments in ultra high definition, if we wish. This has profound implications for us all. Like any superpower, it can be unbelievably life enhancing, but also creates challenges and responsibilities to be tackled.
What’s in a digital memory?
“Our brain is the most complicated structure in the known Universe.” ― Michio Kaku.
Our brain stores, curates and connects our memories in incredibly complex ways to create our own unique reality and imagine our futures. It’s a truly amazing thing; but it’s limited in size, so it has to be incredibly efficient. It develops filters and short-cuts to manage the huge volumes of information that it receives. For example, as you read these words in your short term memory stores them. Your brain may (I hope) judge the meaning (if not the words) valuable enough to transfer some of it to your long term memory. Once there, your brain emphasises and de-emphasises memories according to need, how often we access them, and the situations that we find ourselves in. Some will have a strong recall, some weaker, some will vaporise.
Your new superpower?
“…with great power there must also come — great responsibility!” ― Uncle Ben, Spider-man 1962 (and also the 1st French Republic, 1793)
Our personal data and digital memories are a new and very different type of memory; they can persist forever. In fact many of these digital memories already exist, they’re just in other peoples data silos. Some you know (hello Facebook, Instagram, Apple, Amazon, Google: maps/mail/search/youtube etc), and many are invisible (wholesale personal data brokers, advertising-tech, Credit Score companies etc).
But imagine if you had a copy of all of this data. The knowledge that you create would quickly become incredibly powerful. What’s more, your own personal algorithms could effortlessly combine the new digital knowledge with what you already know to create a digital 6th sense. A personal transcendence. Your new superpower.
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.”
— Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
Combining our physical memories with our digital memories at a personal level will become incredibly powerful for every human who has access to the technology. If we all have access to this technology, it will transform and uplift entire societies.
Of course, if this is even remotely true, our digital memory will become incredibly valuable too. And the biggest question of our digital century will then become: who controls it? The choice is yours.
CitizenMe is helping to unlock Human Knowledge™ for people, companies and society. This blog is the fourth of the series: Digital Memories. This is part 4. In first three posts we covered: why personal data is like a memory; sharing data memories; and what this all means commercially. Watch out for the last post on this series Selling Our Souls. If you missed the previous blogs, read the first, second and third here.
StJohn founded CitizenMe with the aim to take on the biggest challenge in the Information Age: helping digital citizens gain control of their digital identity. Personal data has meaning and value to everyone, but there is an absence of digital tools to help people realise its value. With CitizenMe, StJohn aims to fix that. With with a depth of experience digitising and mobilising businesses, StJohn aims for positive change in the personal information economy. Oh… and he loves liquorice.All stories by: StJohn Deakins
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