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Recall, Limitless, Gemini: inside the AI memory machines

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Humans are terrible at remembering things. We forget things over time; we fail to remember them in the first place because we’re also not great at paying attention; we misremember things because of our inherent biases and the way we perceive the world. There’s a lot going on, and we don’t keep much of it for long.

Maybe AI can fix that. It sure looks like we’re about to find out. Microsoft, for instance, is making a big bet on Recall, an app that promises to use AI to collect, store, organize, and resurface everything you do and see on your computer. (Imagine just being able to ask your computer, “What was that article about bees I read the other day? What was the timeline it mentioned?”) At this year’s Google I/O, the most impressive AI demo was a way to remember where you left your glasses. Apple thinks you might use AI to make photo albums and even emotional videos to remember great moments. And companies like Notion and Dropbox are building AI into their own tools to help you find and remember all your meetings and tasks. They all promise the same thing: don’t worry about remembering things because the computer will do it for you. And it’ll do it faster and better.

On this episode of The Vergecast, we talk to one of the people who has been working on this problem for a very long time: Dan Siroker, the CEO of Limitless. We talk about what it takes to build a great memory aid, how we might use them in the future, and why it’s so tricky to get right.

We also talk about the human side of it all — what does it change about our lives when we stop forgetting things? Is remembering your friend’s birthday different when it’s actually an AI model doing the remembering? And will these tools ever really work outside of work? Tools like Limitless are coming fast and improving quickly, and we’re going to have to figure out how to live with them.

If you want to learn more about everything we discuss in this episode, here are a few links to get you started:

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