Go back in time with Rewind; Amazing or troublesome technology?

Physics tells us that time travel is impossible due to the arrow of time, entropy, and the tendency of all systems to become more chaotic, from a broken egg to a messy bedroom, a flat tire, and the entire universe. We, too, with all the curiosity and enthusiasm we have for realizing a trip to the past, have more or less accepted that the traces of time travel should be sought in science fiction stories.

But artificial intelligence company Rewind AI He says that he has made it possible to travel to the past in the MacOS environment! Project Rewind, which has recently stepped into the field of future technology with the promise of going back in time and giving users “perfect memory”, is actually an application that records “everything you’ve seen, said and heard”, albeit in the environment of the operating system. And it allows you to search and find what you’re looking for in a fraction of a second among the reams of data, from messages exchanged in messengers to web pages read and even online meetings you’ve attended.

Maybe you’re looking for a tweet you can’t remember where you’ve seen it before, or you wish you could go back 15 seconds to retrieve that long article you were writing but missed without saving. Maybe you are trying to remember certain details in the financial report of a colleague in an online meeting that you forgot when it was held. The company Rewind AI says that all these tasks are easily possible with their artificial intelligence project.

The birth story of Rewind

Dan Siroker Dan Siroker, co-founder and CEO of Rewind AI, tells an impressive story as the inspiration behind the Rewind project. He says he lost his hearing at the age of 20; But 10 years later, with the help of a hearing aid, he was able to hear again, and this hearing aid changed the course of his life.

Losing one of the senses and regaining it is like gaining a supernatural power similar to superheroes. Since the day my hearing returned, I have been looking for a way to use technology to enhance human abilities and give them supernatural powers.

His search finally reached “Memory”. Studies show that 90% of memories are forgotten after a week, and human memory, just like the power of hearing, becomes weaker with age. Dan thought to himself, now that we have hearing aids and glasses to solve the problem of hearing and vision, what can be done to strengthen the weak memory?

We want to give people complete memory

He concluded that it is possible to use technology, and more specifically, artificial intelligence-based tools, to “give humans complete and flawless memory.” The result of all his questions, curiosities and researches finally led to the development of Rewind software; A project that allows you to search, find and even copy and paste in just a few seconds with Rewind, instead of spending hours searching for something you hardly remember with different tools.

Rewind search bar on Mac environment

Rewind AI Inc. by Dan Siroker (Dan Siroker) and Brett Bejek (Brett Bejcek) was founded and its small team members are working remotely from different American cities in the development of the Rewind project. Some of the members of this company previously played a role in the development of the Scribe audio-to-text software, whose technology is now used in Rewind.

For the development of the Rewind project, this company has received 15 million dollars from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz It has been found that he has a history of investing in projects such as Clubhouse and even helping Elon Musk take over Twitter.

Of course, the ambitious Rewind project is currently in the beta phase and has a long way to go before public release. Users who wish to receive the trial version of this software can provide their email address on the website and wait in line.

The technology used in Rewind

The company Rewind AI has not provided many details about the technology used in it as much as it has talked about the inspiring idea of ​​its project. The only thing we know about Rewind technology is that it uses a tool to compress recorded data, OCR technology to convert photo text to copyable text and even clickable links, and ASR tool to convert speech to text so you don’t have to worry about Don’t miss any content.” ASR (Automated Speech Recognition) technology is especially useful for online meetings, as it converts the words exchanged between people into searchable text.

In a sobering claim, the company touts Rewind’s ability to provide “astounding compression” that can compress recorded data “without significant quality loss” to 3750 times make it more compact For example, 10.5 GB of data in Rewind software occupies only 2.3 MB of space. So, if the company’s claim is true, it’s possible to store “years of recorded files” even on a small hard drive!

Rewind Claim: Staggering compression of up to 3750 times!

Of course, if the app converts everything it sees and hears into plain text, that probably explains its ability to do “staggering compression.” In the demo that this company showed about how the software works, there was no video or audio file playing and only screenshots with highlighted texts were seen. However, Dan says that there is no video and audio recording capability at this stage, but it will eventually be added to the software.

But why is this software only developed for macOS? The Rewind AI company says that in order for this software to work completely inconspicuously in the background and put the least pressure on the device’s hardware resources, including the processor and memory, it needs high-power chips, which are currently the best options on the table, the M1 and M2 chips. Apple is silicon.

Apple silicon chip for Rewind software

Rewind says that running this program in a Mac environment does not put pressure on the CPU and memory

In addition, Rewind software uses the Mac operating system’s own APIs and OCR technology to recognize and index all words that appear on the screen; As a result, users do not need to integrate this software with cloud-based products such as Gmail, Dropbox and Slack.

How does Rewind software work?

After installing Rewind, the software will be run by pressing command+shift+space. According to the company Rewind AI, in the search bar that appears in the middle of the screen, you can search for everything you said, saw or heard on the Mac environment. After searching for the desired word, a timeline will be displayed in the lower part of the bar, which you can go back in time with the mouse pointer. The user interface of this timeline is a bit like the different sections of YouTube videos, except that each section is related to a different application.

rewind; A search engine for life

The magic of Rewind software is in its ability to search. macOS users are well aware of Spotlight’s amazing search capability in the Mac environment; In Rewind AI’s demo of how this program works, search results appeared on the screen at the same incredible speed. In this demo, we can see that by typing “tps report” in the search bar, all the cases where this term has appeared in different applications such as Word file, recorded video, Zoom or Slack are displayed, and the ability to filter the search results based on the application. There is also

Rewind software preview

Rewind software converts the audio content of online meetings to text so that they appear in search results. Even a link that was displayed via screen sharing in online sessions becomes clickable via Rewind. The ability to copy text from within this software and paste it in other applications is also available.

Privacy concerns

Sirokar, co-founder of Rewind AI, wrote in a blog post that the goal of Rewind’s development is to “give humans complete memory.” He referred to the enhancement of human memory as a superhero power, but according to some users, Rewind’s technology interferes with privacy issues.

For example, if the application becomes common in the future, it may put its users at risk of harm and abuse from company executives, family members, law enforcement, and repressive governments. On the other hand, the discussion of judicial problems due to the recording of sensitive data and the issue of the consent of the people whose conversations are recorded in the meetings are raised.

Rewind AI has answered some of these concerns on its website; including that all the data recorded by the Rewind application is stored locally and only the user has access to them. Data is also optionally encrypted by FileVault, and two-factor authentication can be enabled to use the app.

The company has assured users that none of their data will be sold and that no one, including Rewind AI employees, will be able to read the stored information. Rewind AI says it will cover the company’s costs from users’ monthly subscriptions.

Regarding the discussion of the consent of people who are present in online meetings, Rewind AI says that obtaining their consent before recording the meeting is a citizen’s duty, and it is necessary for all participating members to be aware of the recording of the meeting, and only if they agree, the user can run the Rewind program. slow

The ability to remove the application from the Rewind program

The ability to remove the application from the Rewind program

Rewind AI also says that it is possible to remove some apps from the list of apps that are recorded and indexed by Rewind. By default, the user’s search in the incognito mode of Chrome, Safari, Arch, Firefox and Brio browsers is never recorded. It is possible to stop the data recording process or delete the recorded data at any time.

It seems that using Rewind AI requires observing many security points. For example, if you are not careful, passwords and sensitive data may be captured, leaving you in a vulnerable position. On the other hand, it is true that all the recorded data is stored locally and only the user himself has access to them, but if the laptop falls into the hands of profiteers, all his sensitive data is at risk of being stolen. If someone gets physical access to a user’s laptop, they may threaten to force them to verify two-factor authentication.

Finally, we have to wait and see if the Rewind technology will make life easier for humans or if it will turn into a scenario from one of the episodes of the Black Mirror series.

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