When my daughter Nicole was an infant' I read an essay suggesting that it might no longer be necessary to teach children how to read or write' because speech recognition and synthesis would soon render those abilities superfluous. My wife and I were horrified by the idea' and we resolved that' no matter how sophisticated technology became' our daughter's skills would always rest on the bedrock of traditional literacy. It turned out that we and the essayist were both half correct: now that she's an adult' Nicole can read as well as I can. But there is a sense in which she has lost the ability to write. She doesn't dictate her messages and ask a virtual secretary to read back to her what she last said' the way that essayist predicted; Nicole sub-vocalizes' her retinal projector displays the words in her field of vision' and she makes revisions using a combination of gestures and eye movements. For all practical purposes' she can write. But take away the assistive software and give her nothing but a keyboard like the one I remain faithful to' and she'd have difficulty spelling out many of the words in this very sentence. Under those specific circumstances' English becomes a bit like a second language to her' one that she can speak fluently but can only barely write. It may sound like I'm disappointed in Nicole's intellectual achievements' but that's absolutely not the case. She's smart and dedicated to her job at an art museum when she could be earning more money elsewhere' and I've always been proud of her accomplishments. But there is still the past me who would have been appalled to see his daughter lose her ability to spell' and I can't deny that I am continuous with him. It's been more than twenty years since I read that essay' and in that period our lives have undergone countless changes that I couldn't have predicted. The most catastrophic one was when Nicole's mother Angela declared that she deserved a more interesting life than the one we were giving her' and spent the next decade criss-crossing the globe. But the changes leading to Nicole's current form of literacy were more ordinary and gradual: a succession of software gadgets that not only promised but in fact delivered utility and convenience' and I didn't object to any of them at the times of their introduction. So it hasn't been my habit to engage in doom saying whenever a new product is announced; I've welcomed new technology as much as anyone. But when Whetstone released its new search tool Remem' it raised concerns for me in a way none of its predecessors did. Millions of people' some my age but most younger' have been keeping life-logs for years' wearing personal cams that capture continuous video of their entire lives. People consult their life-logs for a variety of reasons—everything from reliving favorite moments to tracking down the cause of allergic reactions—but only intermittently; no one wants to spend all their time formulating queries and sifting through the results. life-logs are the most complete photo album imaginable' but like most photo albums' they lie dormant except on special occasions. Now Whetstone aims to change all of that; they claim Remem's algorithms can search the entire haystack by the time you've finished saying "needle." Remem monitors your conversation for references to past events' and then displays video of that event in the lower left corner of your field of vision. If you say "remember dancing the conga at that wedding?"' Remem will bring up the video. If the person you're talking to says "the last time we were at the beach'" Remem will bring up the video. And it's not only for use when speaking with someone else; Remem also monitors your sub-vocalizations. If you read the words "the first Szechuan restaurant you ate at'" your vocal cords will move as if you're reading aloud' and Remem will bring up the relevant video. There's no denying the usefulness of software that can actually answer the question "where did I put my keys?" But Whetstone is positioning Remem as more than a handy virtual assistant: they want it to take the place of your natural memory.