What's Up Wednesday #28 - Illusions of time, How records shape our memory, saving your data when abandoning WhatsApp

What’s Up Wednesday #28 - Illusions of time, How records shape our memory, saving your data when abandoning WhatsApp

Happy Wednesday all of you!

🤦‍ I am slowly abandoning all Facebook products (and there are many). With WhatsApp’s backslash of popularity (at least in Germany) I am now using Signal for 90% of my chats with friends. The main reason, for me, are the actions & reactions of Facebook regarding how they handle user data. They just don’t care about regulations because even a 1B$ fine is peanuts. They make way more money ignoring the laws.

🧑‍💻 Being a bit of a collector, I needed a way to store my WhatsApp chats in a nice and readable format. WhatsApp, of course, will not do that for you. That’s why three friends and I worked on a tool to analyze your WhatsApp chats and generate really nice PDFs from it. (<- this is a special link allowing you to bypass our payment system which charges 2$ for a pdf. Just click on the „get sample pdf“ button with that link and it will download the full chat) 

⏱ So now, I have all my WhatsApp chats in nice PDFs, which I can put on my backup drives. Not only I, but humans, in general, are loving to record and save everything. VSauce’s video on Illusions of Time is something you should put on your watchlist. Here are some of his points which I enjoyed the most:

  • Every human actually lives and has experiences, friends, problems, a workplace, and all that kind of stuff. Realizing that every human being ever lived was really just feeling and thinking just like you is staggering.

  • The „look and feel“ of the recordings themselves shape our perception of the past. Check out this video from New York in 1987 filmed with a color HD camera. It looks way more recent because the footage resembles the 2010s.

  • Old photos are black and white, and people look very static on them. That’s how we remember them. Now one reason for that is that the cameras had a very long exposing time, so you had to stand still. The following image is one of the first of a smiling human (taken early 19th century). It looks like a fun dude took this with his polaroid. But no, it is 200 years old.

  • We use the similarity of things to judge the temporal distance. But this can be plain wrong. E.g. the T-Rex died out 66M Years ago. We place another dinosaur in the same time frame, which is completely off. The Stegosaurus was already 80M years extinct before the first T-Rex walked on earth.

🧠 Your personal experiences make up maybe 0.00000001% of what’s happened in the world but maybe 80% of how you think the world works. People believe what they’ve seen happen exponentially more than what they read about has happened to other people if they read about other people at all. We’re all biased to our own personal history. Ideas that Changed my Life

🤯 On the other side of the past lies the future. While your past is part of oneself, it is very important to not only look back and ponder but look forward and decide.


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