Engineers are working on software to load every photo you take, every letter you write – in fact your every memory and experience – into a surrogate brain that never forgets anything.

It is part of a curious venture dubbed the MyLifeBits project, in which engineers at Microsoft’s Media Presence lab in San Francisco are aiming to build multimedia databases that chronicle people’s life events and make them searchable. “Imagine being able to run a Google-like search on your life,” says Gordon Bell, one of the developers.