The Futurist Magazine has published its annual Top 10 Forecasts.
I found the first prediction the most interesting: "Everything you say and do will be recorded by 2030."
I think it would be possible to do this much sooner. Data storage devices are getting smaller (in physical size) and bigger (in storage capacity) all the time. In five years we could see iPod sized devices with the storage capacity to record for days bluetoothed to a tiny camera and mic mounted to eyeglass frames.
Possible, of course, doesn't mean wide adoption. It will only be widely adopted when it becomes an arms race.
Those who record everything - call them, er... "Recorders" - will be in possession of history. If, for example, there were a disagreement a Recorder could edit a version of the events to favor his point of view. Perhaps he could even add or delete data. Unless the other party were also recording, they'd have no defense against historical revisionism. This is becoming a problem already. Glenn Reynolds argued in the New York Post that political candidates should bring their own cameras to interviews.
Obviously there are privacy concerns with ubiquitous recording. New laws will be necessary. We will come to have an expectation of privacy in our own data. We'll insist that warrants for private data be limited in scope - something like "where were you on the night of the 25th between the hours of 10 and 11?" This rather than, "let me see all your data from the last year."
We'll also have some expectation of privacy to other people's data. X-boyfriends who post certain recordings on the Internet should expect to be prosecuted. This kind of involuntary pornography should be seen as a sex offense.
Once these privacy concerns are worked out, ubiquitous recording could be a great force for good. Opportunistic petty crime might still be possible, but a life of serious or violent crime would be next to impossible.
And we'll have search functions to help us remember... everything. You need to hear the teacher's lecture again before the test? Search and replay. You lost your car keys? Search for the most recent image of your keys in your data.
Every test of life will be open book.
Eventually these recordings will help us rebuild moments in our lives to relive virtually. Weddings and birthday parties certainly, but less happy occasions might be even more important. If a person has a problem with anger, they could replay times when they acted inappropriately and learn from it. Those with dependancy problems can learn to avoid triggers.
The immediacy and accuracy of this literal photographic memory is just another way we can make ourselves smarter. Perhaps this is another path to the Singularity.