It's exciting to consider how many human interactions are now captured in one way or another; where meetings were either hastily scribbled by whoever drew the shortest straw or clumsily recorded in their entirety, technology has started to improve these minor inefficiencies.
I'm not talking about some Dystopian Orwellian nightmare where you're held accountable for every muttered frustration when you're stuck behind a tractor who inexplicably decided rush hour was the perfect chance to dawdle its way down an already congested route. But what about sitting in a meeting and being relieved of the responsibility of taking notes, or worrying about paraphrasing certain points that may later impact the body of work?
Simple iOS applications like eXtra Voice Recorder (and their many competitors) have transformed how complex sessions can be consumed (both from our perspective as an agency, but also for academics, consultations and the many, many times in which you might want to record human interaction). Where you might previously place a dictaphone on the table, these brilliant computers that live in our pockets have taken over. Applications that allow you to not only record the session but tag sections have changed the game.
We've all been there, trying to remember "roughly, how long into that 3 hour workshop was the API mentioned?", while skimming through a 3 hour audio file trying to find the snippet you need to validate a decision. Technology now means you can mark chapters in the recording, allowing you to easily refer to sections of that meeting without trawling through it. These small steps forward can be transformative in terms of reducing how many man-hours are spent documenting sessions (and how accurately they are too).
One of the latest pieces of technology we're excited about is the Kapture wristband; a constantly recording unit that saves the last 60 seconds of sound whenever you tap it. The notion is that you can capture whatever happened in the last minute; it's very difficult to pre-empt what moments in life you want to record. Truly brilliant things seem to happen spontaneously and are lost in the magic of their transience. Whether it's a really important element a client missed from the brief that you want to record verbatim, a really cool riff you just improvised or perhaps something incredible your child came out with. This little device is always recording and will allow you to retain the previous 60 seconds - saved straight to your smartphone.
In practical terms you could use it to retain just the useful bits of a session, further streamlining the documentation process by removing the non-useful elements. But you could also record your daughter's first word, an amusing anecdote, an unexpected noise or anything else. The power of being able to capture what just happened has many, many applications; in the work environment and beyond.
It's exciting how many human interactions are recorded and while the implications of that could indeed be a little unnerving, in day-to-day terms it offers us so much that our parents and grand-parents never had. And it's these little steps forward that make the digital world so enthralling.
What it doesn't solve is when someone forgets to record the session, but I'm sure technology will solve that problem too one day.