I work at Redox, a startup in Madison, WI that provides the modern API for healthcare. I try to look at where we are currently with technology and tell the world where we’re going. I write my Quick Theories here, send out a popular weekly newsletter, and think nerdy on Twitter.
If I were to ask you right now to recall a memory, you might scramble for a minute or two and finally land on a recent trip or party. But, if I showed you a picture you recently took and asked you to tell me the story behind it, you’d instantly paint the scene for me. That’s why we take pictures – to recall interesting, funny, or important moments.
We’ve all amassed thousands visual memories through pictures. But pictures don’t include the words that come with these memories – leaving a massive hole for a service that sells us our conversations.
Buying Your Memories
All of these photos and somehow we find a way to forget.
For my grandpa’s 75th birthday, my cousin called upon all the grandkids to send her their favorite family photos. She then spent weeks curating the album, laying out the pictures, and printing them into a calendar.
All of this effort, which Google now has a service to do in minutes.
Google Photo Books empowers users to easily sort through old memories and compile them into printed albums. In a matter of minutes, you can create a photo book that tells the story of your trip to the Mayan ruins, your child’s first birthday, or a memorable day at the beach.
Eventually, this photo book creation is something Google wants to automate using image-recognition algorithms. As people are uploading the billions of images to Google Photos, Google previews a curated photo book for you to purchase – taking all the stress out of your hands.
Imagine having someone on staff at all times to help you remember some of the best times of yesterday. We’ve got so many memories to wade through that having a personal memory curator is a lucrative service.
And visual memories are only part of the possibility.
Whether it’s advice from a friend, an enticing product pitch, or just a funny story – in an average week you might hear a dozen stories or one-liners that really catch your attention. I’m talking about those conversations you really want to remember for later use.
When these moments of conversational genius hit, we usually aren’t in a position to scribble the words down on a piece of paper or repeat the line over and over until it’s in our memory. And unless you’re a journalist it’s hard to get away with carrying a voice recorder everywhere you go.
But, that’s where we will get a little help from our devices.
If you have a smartphone in your pocket, then you are walking around with an active voice recorder. If you have an Amazon Echo, Google Home, or Apple HomePod, your house is canvassed with audio recorders. Even your laptop and in some cases smart TV acts as an audio recorder.
These devices are required to latently record your voice, waiting for a wake word such as “Hey Siri, set an alarm”, “Alexa, What’s the weather”, “Ok Google, play some music” to start encoding information to a database. Nonetheless, they’re still recording.
Who’s to say that in the same way Google creates photo book memories, they couldn’t make audio memory books for us. They have the algorithmic potential to compile some of the best conversations of your week or year without adding any stress to your plate. All they need is your permission.
Let’s just think about the possibilities for a moment.
Buying Your Conversations
This last year I’ve seen a tremendous amount of professional growth in strategic partnerships and business development. You better believe that I’d pay a pretty penny to hear a collection of some of my first few meetings accompanied by the recent deals that I’ve closed. It would be a keepsake that I could learn from and also reminisce on in ten years.
Buying conversations may sound bizarre and a little invasive, but that’s just because it’s a foreign concept right now.
Imagine hearing a replay of the joke that had your Thanksgiving dinner hootin’ and hollerin’. Perhaps you’d like to settle an argument by replaying exactly what the other person said in your conversation – no more of this “he said”, “she said” game. Maybe you’d like to hear the last words your relative said to you before they passed or the first words your child uttered.
There are countless conversations that define our paths, bring smiles to our faces, and tears to our eyes which we often forget. Or worse, we remember small snippets and then fill in the gaps with mumbo-jumbo that didn’t happen.
Mainstream media generally portrays these “always recording” devices as invasive and incriminating data collectors. But their potential is so much more. Unfortunately, we may never get the opportunity to purchase a curated playlist of our seminal conversations if we can’t get past the fact that our devices are always recording.
We have the technological capability to relive precious conversational moments in the same way we relive our memories through pictures. Are there not audio memories you’d like to revisit?
Make A Memory Today
Sometimes I catch myself thinking, “Wow, it was just October, what happened to the last five months?” Time flies at an overwhelming pace.
In these moments of realization, the only thing that brings me out of the sadness is reminiscing about all the great memories I’ve made. I spend every Saturday morning looking through countless pictures and videos from my past.
This act never fails to inspire me to make more memories and push further.
Popular life advice often tells us to never look back and that nostalgia is the enemy of change. But, this neglects the importance of reminiscing about the past.
When you look back, not only do you take time to take a breath and enjoy what you’ve accomplished but you also can assess your choices and learn from your own experiences.
Even leading marathon racers look back occasionally to see where the competition is at. Of course, spend too much time looking back and everyone is going to pass you.
Your future self is looking back on you through the memories you make. So go make a memory today.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s Quick Theories. And feel free to shoot me an email with your thoughts on buying conversations.
An ugly issue exists in workplaces worldwide that is undermining people’s ability to be positive and productive at work. I’m referring to workplace harassment.
Growing up, you probably had a set of chores your parent(s) expected you to finish every day or week. Some chores paid an allowance while others didn’t.
We all have varying mixes of IQ and EQ – academic intelligence and emotional intelligence. For many years, scholars and “people-persons” have debated which is a better indicator of success in life.
We flock to concert venues and sports arenas to watch something magical happen on stage or on the field. But, the real magic is in the stands.
For the past 10-20 years, we’ve uploaded our identities to the internet without a second thought. Every day, we upload over 1.2 billion photos to Google Photos, tweet over 500 million thoughts on Twitter, send over 3 billion snaps on Snapchat, and watch over 5 billion YouTube videos.
If you haven’t heard anything about Bitcoin the past couple months then it’s possible you are living under a rock. Cryptocurrencies have taken the world by storm making a run at a becoming a widely used currency for exchanging goods and services.
Perhaps the most frustrating part about owning technology is needing to upgrade that technology every four or five years. Many of us dread the process of transitioning old files to a new device.
The world around us is heavily impacted by technology from the cars we drive to the infrastructure of society. Yet, most of us rarely think about advancing one fundamental area of life: our garments.
Planes, trains, and automobiles. The three modes of transportation we’ve all used for the past hundred years. But, there’s a new form of travel being added to that roster, the Air Taxi.
It’s not hard to imagine the Earth before humans, but we struggle to imagine what the Earth looks like after humans.
We’d all like to think we know what a “lying face” looks like. Realistically, most of us can’t remember a face, let alone understand all the secrets a face hides.
The iPhone (and the smartphone in general) is on track to becoming the most versatile tool at your doctor’s disposal. The iPhone Doctor is a movement that brings diagnosis and treatment apps to smartphones, making the job of a Digital Doctor much more seamless.
The largest organ of our body, our skin, might become the newest technology interface. Digital tattoos fused with circuitry can be applied to the skin to replace your TV remote and other devices.
There are a plethora of problems we encounter that require audible communication. And when there isn’t someone around we trust to confide in, digital therapy and the computer therapist may soon be there to help.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a misleading term. It sounds like it parallels human intelligence, except faster, all-knowing, and non-forgetting. But, this just isn’t what it means when people attach the term to their innovation.
Some people are born with “the eye”, “the taste”, or “the ear”. Their bodies are more accustomed to a certain sense.
Video storytelling is getting repetitive. Many of the movies today are clearly spinoffs of the movies from our youth. Which is why the future of cinema may hold a new form of interactive video experience where viewers have the control to switch between different perspectives, thus altering the narrative.
There comes a time when every elderly person needs someone to help with chores and errands. While it’s nice to have family there, this isn’t always sustainable for their loved ones.
The planet must produce more food in the next four decades than all farmers in history have harvested over the past 8,000 years.
We can all agree that the legal system is out-of-date and at times very crooked. It’s a system that benefits the wealthy and powerful, while leaving little hope for those with minimal resources.
There really aren’t any professions completely safe from automation or Artificial Intelligence. Most visionaries will advise you to become resilient, moldable, and creative to ensure a job in the future of work.
Whether you like it or not, there’s a digital shadow that follows you everywhere. This digital shadow knows your behaviors, your intentions, your identity.
Have you ever heard something so absurdly crazy that you get that clenching knot in your stomach, fearing it’s actually true?
Soon, there will be more surveillance cameras on the street than there are pairs of eyes! Algorithms are being put in place that turns these into smart cameras – making high-level analyses of your life.
Undoubtedly, we all want to get the most out of our lives. Whether we are working out or just plain working, we have trainers, managers, and leaders to help us achieve our highest potential.
We are about to experience the most unequal societies in human history. Economic inequality has run terror on this world for millennia, leaving the poor with little option to overcome their circumstances.
You have too many options when it comes to choosing TV shows, Movies, YouTube videos, and other video content. Video content and the future of video has reached massive production levels and yet, the time in your day hasn’t increased alongside it.
Even though your brain is the oldest piece of technology, it’s also the next frontier in computing. For decades we’ve interacted with devices through our actions.
Every time you message a friend online, you are forced to choose between dozens of different messaging apps that all serve the same purpose.
We’ve all had that unfortunate moment when you send a playful text message that someone takes too seriously. Other times, you just can’t seem to find the words to convey what you are feeling.
Undoubtedly, we all want to see different parts of the world and connect with new people. Unfortunately, overcoming the language barrier is often too difficult.
Stressed, coffee-addicted journalists are evolving into major media brands themselves, leaving behind companies like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, to cover the news in their own way – free from the political agendas of major media.
We are just a few years away from seeing and interacting with companies that run themselves. In other words, autonomous companies (also known as RoboCorp) operated by algorithms will generate revenue all day long.
Crime investigation is an industry ripe for disruption. Shows like “The First 48” give us a glimpse into how ineffective lie detector tests and interviews can be when trying to place someone at the scene of a crime.
What would our computers tell us if we gave them a voice? We’ll soon find out thanks to Natural Language Generation which gives computers a written opinion on virtually anything.
Intelligence equals power. We are smarter than dogs, therefore we keep them as house pets. Computers will soon be smarter than humans, so they may keep us as house pets (at least that’s what Elon Musk believes).
The war on drugs is becoming digital and I’m not talking about online head shops, like Billowby. Literally, our relationship with the future of drugs is shifting toward digital drugs as a means for medication and recreation.
The same companies that brought you the internet (ISPs) now want to sell your information and squander any remaining digital privacy you have.
Google Home and Amazon Echo describe a future where virtual assistants powered by your voice take care of all your online interaction.
Big Data badly needs a sous chef. Someone to come in and prepare all the vegetables and meats so that the head chef can cook with ease.
Nobody wants to live in a glass house. We enjoy our privacy too much. Unfortunately, everything you do online may as well exist in a metaphorical glass house because it is monitored by Palantir Technologies.
Elon Musk is defining the future of transportation with Tesla, SpaceX…and now The Boring Company?! No, not boring as in twiddling your thumbs all day.
At times, it feels like technology is leading us toward a future in which our identities start and stop with a designated number.
Amazon Dash is starting a wave in technology that is tearing apart your phone and making the way we interact with devices easier than ever before.
When you hear the word digital health, there’s a chance that you either conjure up dark memories of visiting the hospital, quickly reach for your wallet to protect it from unnecessary costs, or just think of the word “boring”.
There’s always a trial period that occurs when you make a change to your lifestyle. Imagine jumping behind the wheel of one of Tesla’s autonomous vehicles right now.
In 2016, I left Facebook to put more emphasis on my personal relationships and figure out a better productivity formula. This decision couldn’t have come at a better time because one of my closest friendships was tested this year.
Learn from my mistake, that limiting your creative environment severely stagnates your ability to tap into creative inspiration. This is how I learned: My first piece of writing (by choice, not assignment) was a closure email I wrote to potential investors.
We seek creative communities (and other communities) for identity validation and protection. As far back as childhood, kids try getting noticed by the popular crowd.
You never have to decide between devoting your life to working for yourself or “giving back”. The difference between social entrepreneurship ideas, social entrepreneurship companies, and just entrepreneurs is action.
Life is a choose your own adventure book with too many choices. When deciding your path and investing in your 20s, we have too many options to spend our time.
The common view of sleep is we merely need it to restore our energy after a long day. But, what about its role in the creative process.
While it’s often hard to admit, we all get the shiny object syndrome when developing creativity. Constantly looking for the tool that will make our lives so much easier and our jobs feel like a breeze.
Samsung TVs haven’t changed in 5 years. Cameras look the same as they did in the times of Ansel Adams. Hardware hasn’t progressed at all in comparison to the exponential growth of software, except for the hardware of robotic arms – which a competition called the Cybathlon is fueling.
Organizing your ideas should be like making an abstract expressionist painting…messy. Unfortunately, organizing your ideas in a digital notebook is only hurting your creative process.