Friday, October 24, 2003

The virtues of forgetfulness?

Who'd have thought yours truly would be quoted in a Wired News article? I remember talking to Mark Baard - quite a nice guy - and it's interesting what he remembered about me:

Sociologists and anthropologists at the conference also worried that human memory, which can be flexible and forgiving, will be supplanted by the memory banks of ubiquitous computing systems. No human act, no matter how benign or foolish or cruel, will escape the binary memory and cold interpretation of an artificially intelligent computer.

"People are showing me spatulas and frying pans with RFID (radio frequency identification) tags on them, and AI (artificial intelligence) systems that can infer when you're making an omelet," said Carleton University sociologist Anne Galloway. "And that's fine. But think of all the embarrassing things we do that we would like to forget. With everything stored on a disk somewhere, that will be extremely difficult."

Well, that's not quite what I said, but okay. And I have to correct one point: I am only a PhD candidate.

It appears that Mark also talked to my friend Lalya about how Tejp audio tags record only what people want. Update: But I don't think it's fair to say that researchers are "sidestepping the privacy issue by limiting their ubiquitous computing applications to art installations." One of the important things about the Tejp project is its critical perspective - and Glitch confronts privacy quite nicely, I think. It shouldn't be just about surveillence.

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