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Hating to Forget But Loving Privacy

If you’ve read this blog for longer than, let’s say, a week, you know that I often write about my extreme fear of forgetting or losing things.  For the last few years, I’ve found a work-around with bullet journalling.  I write down everything from books I want to read to a name from high school that randomly popped into my head to things I must accomplish.

My bullet journal also contains a monthly page where I write the stuff that I know will make me anxious if I ever forget it or can’t find the information quickly.  For instance, at this time last year, I was apparently very concerned that there would one day come a time when I would not remember my favourite Key and Peele sketches, so I wrote down the names of each sketch along with Google-able terms in case I wanted to find them in the future.  I also listed the twins’ MAP-M and MAP-R scores because I always liked to have quick access to those numbers when they brought home the next set.  And I apparently wanted to remember, forever, that I like backgammon.

Don’t judge.  The system works.  At the very least, it calms me down.  Moderately.

Anyway, I was very intrigued by Wonder Bot, which is a bot that can remember anything you tell it and then recall that information when you need it.  For instance, every time you meet someone new, you could tell it to remember some details about the person.  And then years down the road when you bump into someone and can’t remember how you know them, you could ask Wonder Bot and it would spit back out the results.  I love my notebooks, but they aren’t searchable.  When I’m trying to remember something that I know was once written down, I have to flip back through every page.  The Daily Dot calls Wonder Bot a “text-based memory bank.”  Which sounds like the most amazing thing in the world.

You know, except for all the security issues.

Because right now I’m working with pen and paper.  Sure, someone could steal my notebook if they really wanted to know where we went on that walking tour in London. (Clerkenwell!  I always forget the name of the neighbourhood, so I wrote it down so I could remember.)  But that somehow seems less likely than hackers breaking into cloud data or a computer.  And while I would use Wonder Bot to remember things such as the name of the restaurant we hung out at in high school (Booeymongers!), I’m going to bet that others would use it for sensitive information.

Though it’s really really really tempting when you think about how easy it would be to send what amounts to a text message and know that information could be recalled for eternity.

What do you think of Wonder Bot?  Would you use it?


1 Raven { 09.07.16 at 8:16 am }

I’m like you in that I’d like some parts of my life to remain private – even if the details aren’t intimate in nature. I’m remembering those things because they mean something important to me – but I don’t want that in a system that could potentially either lose it all or misuse the information. Although the idea is intriguing! When you write a new novel…do you do it in the computer or in a notebook? I always worry about doing it on the computer, and losing all my work, but I type far faster than I can write.

2 a { 09.07.16 at 8:17 am }

Once upon a time, I worked for Helene Curtis for a summer. I did the job that I was supposed to do within a few weeks, and they had to find something else for me to do. So I was assigned to create a searchable keyword database to reference all of the scientist’s hand-written lab notebooks. This was in 1990. Although it wasn’t online, I’m surprised that it’s taken this long for the rest of the world to catch up.

3 Alexicographer { 09.07.16 at 2:14 pm }

So, short answer, no. But I email myself (and others) assorted reminders pretty regularly. However, I tend to make them cryptic-ish, right? So if my DH emails me and says, “What’s your Amazon password again?” I email back & say “Ice cream first cap only my number my state uncertain.” Which, obviously, means my password is Strawberry76ma! [True password not revealed for obvious reasons], since my favorite flavor of ice cream is strawberry [hypothetically speaking], I tack the number 76 onto most of my passwords [hypothetically speaking], was born in Massachusetts (ditto) and, you know, uncertainty is expressed as a question.

But why I’d need a bot to do that when I can just drop myself an email is unclear to me.

4 Justine Levine { 09.07.16 at 4:41 pm }

I don’t think I’d use it. I do take notes on my iPhone sometimes, but I tend to make paper lists, too. I read _Still Alice_ recently, and it was a little scary how she had to depend on her Blackberry after a while … there’s something a little frightening about a non-human telling you what to do. But your lists don’t tell you what to do. On the other hand, I live by my Outlook calendar. So maybe it’s not so different?

5 Queenie { 09.07.16 at 10:05 pm }

Ha! That restaurant is still there. I think of what a weird name it is every time I go to TJ Maxx.

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 09.08.16 at 2:34 pm }

I’m already using a memo-type organizing app, so I think the leap would not be a big one.

Paper and pen has never worked for me because yes, it initially brings order from chaos (my head), but then I have no way to keep the notes orderly and find stuff. So I caved to the security risks in order to have a measure of orderliness.

7 Jess { 09.11.16 at 9:19 am }

I don’t think I’d use it. I mean, I use Google Keep for lists like quotes I like that I come across, books I’ve read and when, books I want to read in the future, Target lists… and it is helpful to have that on my phone, ready to look up at any moment. But more personal things go on paper. My to do lists go on paper. In part because I like that they aren’t searchable… that I can have these moments of reflection like you did looking back at your bullet journal and see what you were thinking over the past month or year, things you may have forgotten now in this moment. So nope, I don’t think I am ready for the bot future. I want to leave a little something for the anthropologists, I guess. (Although my to-do lists have such exciting things as “shower” and “lunch” so that I can feel accomplished checking them off, so maybe not so great for the pages of history…) 🙂

8 Jessica { 09.11.16 at 7:23 pm }

No. Security is an issue. Even recording on hardcopy poses risks when other people read your book. I would prefer a specific abbreviation, codes, or other languages for writing.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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