Digital Conversations

Your children’s children will be database analysts

18th July 2011

I had a brief but very interesting and thought-provoking discussion with the missus recently about how our generation will ‘remember’ their lives in fundamentally different ways to any before it. It was provoked by Google’s latest advert for Chrome, where a ‘dad’ is emailing his new born daughter the daily goings-on of her life for her to read in the future, and how ideas such as that will underpin how our memories are documented.

It occurred to me that we, and more-so our children, will have access to a vast source of historical information like no generation before us – digital photography has meant that we take hundreds of pictures a week rather than a few film’s worth a year. There’s no cost in snapping everything and anything, so we do. We maintain an instant diary through facebook and twitter, and in those entries we tag the people who were there with us (and likewise, you are tagged in their entries).

In short, we are creating a massive – truly massive – database of what we do, where we were, what we looked like and who we were with. Whereas our grandparents gather and reminisce over cake and a cuppa, we drag out the laptop and go through our facebook albums.

At first, I was worried about this – I know for instance that my memory doesn’t work as well as it used to – it simply doesn’t have to. I can scan through my email and social networking sites to see what I did last month, and my calendar is sync’d across all my devices to make sure I always know where I was this time last year. Does this all mean that we’re going to get dumber? Are long term memories a thing of the past? Is that even a bad thing?

It’s certainly fair to say that we won’t have much need for memory, but then we will become ever more intelligent in finding and organising information – by the time our children are old enough to be sitting around watching the tennis and talking about the good old days, they’ll be decades worth of information collected on various systems around the internet and home networks. Even with ever-greater ways to organise, collate and retrieve information, our offspring are going to have to be fairly nifty at analysing information to find that forgotten memory.

Here, right now, I foresee a future where the next generation will really know how to organise a database. The clever little sods.



Managing Director of Reading Room Manchester

2 Responses

  1. avatar David February 20, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    Not telling ;)


  2. avatar Michael Peel July 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    The famous pyramid relating to data and information has been superseded with the addition of at least one new layer: ‘useful information’. On such premises are Googles built … What’s the next layer?


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