Considering the hours individuals spend in front of computer screens daily, it is no wonder how most of our social interaction is facilitated and mediated digitally.
Spending so many hours talking, planning, working (and ultimately living) through our computers, it becomes inevitable that many important events will occur during our virtual engagement with the world. From an online interview and a teleconference with Japan, to a video chat with relatives in other continents, our life is largely carried out on computer monitors.
Eric Horvitz, realizing the importance of digital life as an integral part of our (offline) life, came up with Lifebrowser, a visual representation of one’s electronic life’s highlights. With artificial intelligence algorithms, Lifebrowser guesses what events, calendar invitations, emails and chats are considered virtual-memory-landmarks and stores them as such. In turn, it allows you to later retrieve the information and re-experience an event, a chat, an activity.
Think of it as a visual scrapbook through which you can access all important events, browsing history, chats, photos and documents, in an aesthetically pleasing environment which accentuates the humanity and substance hidden in everyone’s electronic life.
Lifebrowser comes to contradict our notions of technology and digital social interaction, by firmly establishing the latter as an eligibly valuable part of our lives, which despite arguments to the contrary, it is a humane, deeply intimate way of interaction and human expression.
Using machine learning; a type of artificial intelligence, Lifebrowser makes inferences (and asks questions when it cannot) in order to identify those significant bits and pieces that constitute your digital world. From appointments and romantic dates, to video chats and photographs, Lifebrowser behaves human-like pinpointing and remembering activities and events that are important, thus, worth coming back to.
The potential of this new technology is promising and far-reaching. When memory fails us, technology can compensate us generously. For instance, you might want to re-visit the last time you decided to skip work and do fun stuff instead (we sincerely hope you don’t do that often).
While you will remember perhaps a thing or two, Lifebrowser will provide you with a full-scale experience of that day; photos and videos you might have taken, important notes you jotted down, a heart-felt chat about that day with your living-apart girlfriend and so forth.
Lifebrowser is a Microsoft production that we might get the chance of using with Windows 9. Your virtual life can now be accessed full-blown, thanks to state-of-the-art data mining processing and artificial intelligence. Who could’ve thought.