The latest issue of The New Scientist reports the release of Memories Using Email (MUSE). Developed by Sudheendra Hangal and colleagues at Stanford University, the tool allows email archives to be sorted and grouped to help users ‘reminisce on [their] digital past’.
Data will be stored on your own computer, so there are no confidentiality concerns. The software identifies emotions, creates timelines and groups contacts together based on shared messages.
The developers acknowledge that more personal communication is now taking place outside of email and through social networks, but that MUSE could possibly be adapted to work with Facebook.
Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: what the Internet is doing to our brains, worries that we can become addicted to receiving ‘pellets of information’. Quoted in the Daily Telegraph, he feels that the number of times we return to our inboxes in a working day (up to 30 times each hour for British office workers, according to recent research) is the triumph of hope over experience.