2012
11.02

Leave it to Stephen Colbert to find the most bizarre uses of technology. I was watching “The Cobert Report” last night and saw something I suppose was inevitable. But nonetheless, it made me pause to think about what consumers really want from their technology.

Colbert played a clip of a device called Memoto. It’s a tiny camera that you can clip on your clothes and it will take a photo every 30 seconds. The photos are stored on the device until you upload them to your computer. The device has GPS, which allows each image to be geotagged, and an accelerometer that makes sure the photos display upright no matter how you were oriented when they were snapped. A companion smartphone app claims to organize the photos into groups of “moments” on a timeline, and to show you key frames from your past experiences.

Right now, the device doesn’t feature wireless connectivity, but it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine it will someday automatically upload the images to the cloud.

The goal seems to be to create a complete record of the moments of your life. Memoto’s Website calls the device a “lifeblogging” camera, and it also says, “The camera and the app work together to give you pictures of every single moment of your life, complete with information on when you took it and where you were. This means that you can revisit any moment of your past.”

Yikes. Do I want to revisit any moment of my past? The thought freaks me out, honestly. I can see using Memoto for your wedding day, or the day your first child is born. It might be cool to have a record of the moments from that day. But then I think back to how many times I’ve actually looked at my wedding album, and I wonder. With so many photos already uploaded to Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and personal homepages, do we really need more? Is good old memory no longer enough to remember the days of our lives?

I guess I would rather see devices that help us solve a problem, such as the connected thermostats and fitness devices available today that can improve our daily lives. It’s not that I have anything against Memoto, I just worry people may become jaded if they perceive too many novelty devices flooding the market. They may dismiss a valuable new device because of an overload of other products, like missing a fine restaurant on the same block as a bunch of fast-food joints.

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