With what shall I remember the future?

I read an article this morning from Martin King, which got me thinking.

I feel quite reflective these days, so Martin’s question resonated with me:

“I wonder what the world will be like 50 years from now – what will life be like in 2067! I’d like to record what I think life will be like in 2067 but how should I do this?”

Reflecting on my photographic history I got something very like the Kodak 500 for my 7th or 8th birthday (late 1980s). A film cartridge was something like £2-5, developing slightly more, so not something I wasted shots on. A film of 24 photos would usually last a year, or for a holiday/event. At the time my dad had a Kodak SLR and had his photographs developed as slides and we used to have family slideshows. Over the years I got a bigger and better camera and, in time for my wedding, got a more up to date camera, a Canon IXUS II with the APS film type. This was great, the ability to change the photo size (classic, HDTV and panoramic) and a reasonable zoom, for the time.

Again, the stumbling block here was the cost of the film and developing. but digital was already on the way. At this time the cost of digital was higher than film-based cameras, and the availability of good quality home printing or online services was extremely limited.

Fast forward to spring 2017 and I’ve progressed through a couple of digital cameras and now have a good quality digital camera in the shape of a Sony HX90V, and my phone (iPhone 6S+). I back all photos and video up to Dropbox and because of the size of my collection, I pay for the larger 1TB storage. 

But of course, this isn’t ‘remembering’ as such, it’s collecting or collating the past in photographic form. How will I remember the future? I was impressed with the concept of Google Glass, but the technology seems to have lost it’s way – all we have to show from it now is the SnapChat equivalent, the Spectacles. We’ve lost the innovation around augmented in-time content from the Google offering and just developed it in to something quite immature and superficial. yes, we can take and share photos instantly (but not on Instagram, for me at any rate), but we should have, and expect, so much more. Are developments in augmented reality/AR going to shape our future? If ‘Ready Player One‘ is any indication (a book I’ve just started reading) it’ll be a smartphone killer if it has the catch-all purpose (and financial incentive from the likes of the OASIS developer James Halliday in the book).

Wearable technology will soon become more personal and ‘invasive’, actually part of us, and us of it. We already have smart watches and rings and fitness trackers. We even have the promise (?) of connected contact lenses (again from Google) for diabetes care. So when will memories be recordable and transferable? Will advances in medicine enable the fabled Star Trek Tricorder, a non-invasive medical instrument? That is the future I am waiting for. Maybe not enthusiastically, but certainly waiting for.

Interesting further reading, if you want to:

Image source: James Lee (CC BY 2.0)