Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The New Cosmopolitan Man

In this article David Vekslar debunks many predictions and advances some of his own. I particularly found the following interesting:

The New Cosmopolitan Man
A number of researchers are working on video cameras integrated into clothing or eye-ware that can record a 24/7 video stream from the wearer's perspective. They predict that an entire lifetime of such recordings will be able to fit into a small device within 10 years. When this technology is combined with GPS and computer vision software and cross-referenced with our contact lists and email, a complete digital record can be created to supplement our memories. Imagine being able to search for and review anything experienced during your digitally-enhanced life.

The building blocks are already in place — my Google accounts make every email, chat, and web search of the last three years instantly searchable and available. My Flickr account serves as a geographically tagged diary of my life. A tiny device records all my bike rides and sends a map tagged with my performance statistics to my computer.

The sum of all these innovations will gradually change the way we define ourselves. Our consciousness becomes the central processing unit of a complex system, with external storage and sensor facilities spread across the world and to other people. As human-computer interfaces improve, our sense of self will evolve to include our digital memories as well as those of others. Initially, people had to talk to each other to share information. Then they could look it up in a book. Now you can search for it in Wikipedia. Imagine when you will be able to instantly look it up as an extension of a thought process using some successor to web services.

Thanks to globalization, such tools for sharing knowledge and experience will be available worldwide. It will not be a "hive-mind" (another common sci-fi scenario) because our own sense of self will be enhanced in parallel with our connections to others.

A revolutionary concept particularly "They predict that an entire lifetime of such recordings will be able to fit into a small device within 10 years."

Can this be possible?

I recently recorded some moments of my Hawaii trip with Sony Mini DV. While transferring it to my computer using a USB cable Windows Media Maker said it will take 5 MB to record a minute of recording. The quality was good enough to be shared through youtube. However, I would like to store my digital life in DVD quality i.e. 4 GB for 100 mins (using firewire and a good software) or 40 MB for 1 min. What the heck lets make it 50 MB / min.

Lets assume an average age of 75 years or 75*365*24*60 = 39420000 mins

Total storage at 5 MB / min (you tube quality)
197100000 MB or 197100 GB or 197.1 TB

Total storage at 50 MB / min (you tube quality)
1971000000 MB or 1971000 GB or 1971 TB

The current capacity of external hard disk available on market will soon be 1 TB.

According to Moore's law for hard disk (Kryder's law) the hard disk capacity should increase by 1000 times every 10 years. Therefore, in 10 years we could have a 1000TB drive.

Applying Moore's law capacity will double every 18 months i.e. will increase 1000 times in 15 years.

However, Kryder's law may not be true and infact Moore's law which equates to a 54% per annum increase would also be in doubt. The article states "Drives have failed to meet the 54% level for the last 3 years and they are also not expected to meet it for the next 3 years".

The article analyzes trends for annual "sweet spot" (in demand storage drive) capacity increases. Assuming similar trend for high end capacity increases we get the following picture.

13 year average increase is 105% per annum ==> 1000 TB reached between 9 & 10 years

However, last 2 years growth has been 29%. Assuming that the growth does not slow further then this what will happen.

At 29% growth time to reach 197 TB (you tube quality) --> 20 to 21 years from 1st half of 2006
At 29% growth time to reach 1971 TB (DVD quality) --> 30 to 31 years from 1st half of 2006

And this is the time when the capacity will be 1st available. If you consider "sweet spot" (drive commonly available for public) then the results are:

At 29% growth time to reach 197 TB (you tube quality) --> 20 to 21 years from 1st half of 2012
At 29% growth time to reach 1971 TB (DVD quality) --> 30 to 31 years from 1st half of 2012

Assuming that people will not start recording until they are sure they can store their entire life; the first recordings on a you tube quality video will begin between 2026 and 2027. It may not catch on with general public between 2032 and 2033.

Digital life in DVD quality will begin between 2036 and 2037 with general public starting between 2042 and 2043.

NOTE: I have just analyzed the capacity to record the data. I haven't factored how long it will take to make a camera which you can wear all day long. And transfer it to the storage device. Hopefully, one should be available by the time the storage capacity becomes available.

Moreover, this analysis is for entire lives. People could actually start earlier and keep migrating data as more and more storage becomes available but then that would depend on how soon the technology (camera) is available.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent one ABHI. I have posted a blog on this at SULEKHA .COM. have sent the link to you. regards. Rajee