The Entire History of You
A16Z Investment brings "Black Mirror" Episode to Life
So this week I’ve been covering some clandestine issues in venture Capital and politics related to artificial intelligence. I don’t usually write like this, although I guess it’s the flavor of the week covering A.I. headlines and stories.
If we have glasses for vision, and hearing aids for hearing, what’s the equivalent for memory? - Rewind
Another weird story has come across my desk and it has to do with Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z.
They have recently invested in a company called Rewind, that basically wants bring to life the “Black Mirror” episode S1 E3: “The Entire History of You”. Excuse me if I find this a little bit disturbing.
Andreessen runs influential Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, whose successful bets include Instagram, Oculus VR and GitHub. His first claim to fame was cofounding web browser firm Netscape, which AOL bought in 1998 for $4.2 billion in stock. a16z was of course an early Facebook backer and a huge crypto investors. Mark Andreessen is more than a super angel investor now, he’s a Tycoon.
His track record is pretty good:
You can see some of a16z’s portfolio here.
What concerns me about Rewind is they could easily acquire a company like Mojo who are working on contact lenses with AR and other capabilities, and truly record everything.
What is Rewind?
Built by Dan Siroker, the co-founder and former chief executive of Optimizely, and Brett Bejcek, Rewind wants to help people with their memory. a16z invested in Optimizely you might recall.
Rewind is building a solution to this problem by locally (and privately) capturing what you see, hear, and say, and making it searchable—today, Rewind is launching a Mac desktop app.
Rewind wants to make all memory searchable.
A Search Engine for the Entire History of You
It doesn’t sound too nefarious as an app tracker for example, remote workers who want to be able to search stuff. The startup, launching this month, uses nifty tech to record how someone scrolls and chats through their day. It creates a searchable recording of what happened when, who said what during that Zoom meeting and every instance someone has ever brought up expense reporting hacks.
Trailor for Entire History of You ~ Black Mirror
Make no mistake, Rewind.AI is an artificial intelligence company.
“The content of discussions, debates and decisions are often lost forever as soon as a meeting is over,” Siroker said. “With Rewind, you never have to worry about losing this content again….you can go back to the exact moment in a meeting you are looking for by simply searching for a word that was said, a word that appeared on your screen.”
It’s been billed on their website as, get this: “The Search Engine For Your Life”.
So Venture Capital’s PR about augmenting ourselves with A.I. will mean everything we do and say will be recorded, presumably for our own benefit. Of course this is Surveillance Capitalism 2.0.
For now, it sounds like a useful tool to combat forgetfulness:
Users don’t need to integrate with Gmail, Dropbox or Slack, but instead just can download and “rewind” to start capturing the apps.
Put in practice, if, for example, you forget the URL of the landing page of a new rival app that someone mentioned during a developer stand-up, you can hit rewind. That doesn’t sound too bad?
Here is the demo:
I’m not sure David Ulevitch thinks he’s investing in a Black Mirror episode, but who knows, a16z’s write-up on the $10 million investment wasn’t entirely transparent.
But what do products like these become in the end-game? Certainly not just enterprise tools to allow for more productivity.
Let’s read this again carefully: Rewind is building a solution to this problem by locally (and privately) capturing what you see, hear, and say, and making it searchable. Silicon Valley Venture Capital have incredible power in deciding which future they are brining to mass reality.
Rewind is an A.I. company in how it utilizes automated speech recognition, or ASR, and optical character recognition, Rewind functions without integrations with other apps.
Find anything you’ve seen, said, or heard
Artificial intelligence already influences what we watch on YouTube or TikTok, now I wonder how it will analyze how we experience things. It’s not lost on me that Reddit would make a pretty good search engine, but our working memory? That’s quite the transhumanistic upgrade.
a16z likes to invest in the future, like NFT platforms and Cloud SaaS companies.
Rewind AI claims its product stores all recording data locally on your machine and does not require cloud integration. Among its promises, Rewind will reportedly let you rewind Zoom meetings and pull information from them in a searchable form. How hard would it be for Rewind to integrate with smart contact lenses or some iteration of a BCI (brain-computer-interface)?
Dan Siroker has Sandford roots, like so many Silicon Valley builders.
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