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Microsoft boffin puts brain into e-coffin

A researcher at Microsoft is progressively transferring the information from his brain into computers, so as to preserve its wisdom.

Gordon Bell may well be a slightly peculiar man.

On the other hand, he may simply be the world's first e-philanthropist.

Bell, a researcher at Microsoft, has decided that it is, indeed, in the interests of science for him to commit every single nano-second of his brain's functions to a digital resting place, so that those in future times might see just what human life was like in our woeful, wobbling era.

According to CNN, Bell is just a little enthusiastic about this project. (Click here for a Q & A with Bell from February conducted by ZD Net U.K.)

He wafts around the world carrying more recording equipment than, well, CNN. He tapes conversations, trips, bills, medical records, and, for all I know, visits to the washroom to groom his nasal hair.

It's a lovely place. But would you want every second of your life there to be recorded? CC Robert Scoble/Flickr

He has even tried out a Microsoft invention called a SenseCam, which attempts to monitor and record as much of your life as is digitally possible in the form of images.

I know many of you will be wondering just how large the Kilimanjaro of information might be. Well, Bell seems to estimate it at some 350GB.

But it's another of his estimates which makes my body feel reluctant to welcome my breakfast. You see, Bell believes that by 2020 the whole of our lives will be online and searchable.

I find myself wondering just what kind of lives some of these big boffins have led. Isn't the real joy of life the mysteries rather than the facts?

Can anything truly replace the serendipity of love, the insanity of coincidence, the maniacal lunacy of the surprise, and the relief at finally forgetting some of the idiotic things we have done in our lives?

There is a woman namedJill Price, who suffers from hyperthymestic syndrome, the ability to remember absolutely everything about her life. It does not seem to make her unusually happy. How do I know? Well, she told ABC News: "It makes me crazy."

If everything is there for us to merely click and search, isn't that the moment when we cease to be human beings and become, well, Ray Kurzweil?

Perhaps you, too, might feel just a twinge of ironic joy at Bell's reply to one searchingly innocent question posed to him by CNN: "Are you on Facebook and Twitter?"

Bell replied: "Yeah, I'm on Facebook and Twitter and occasionally I will tweet something. Somehow my problem is that I don't think I have anything interesting to tweet about."

And yet we are supposed to trawl through 350 Gigabytes of mostly uninteresting life? Oh, its enough to make you want to sip pinot noir with your cornflakes.