The new Mac app wants to record everything you do, so you can “rewind” it later

Zoom in / Rewind reportedly lets you search your Mac’s usage history for what you’ve seen, said, or heard.

Rewind the AI

Yesterday, a company called Rewind AI announced an eponymous software product for Mac with Apple Silicon that reportedly keeps a highly compressed and searchable log of everything you do locally on your Mac and allows you to “rewind” time to see it later. If you forget something you “saw, said or heard”, Rewind wants to help you find it easily.

Rewind AI claims that its product stores all registration data locally on your machine and does not require integration into the cloud. Among its promises, Rewind will allow you to rewind Zoom meetings and extract information from them in a searchable form.

In a video demo on the Rewind.AI site, the app opens when a user presses Command + Shift + Space. The search bar suggests typing “everything you’ve seen, said or heard”. It also shows a timeline at the bottom of the screen representing previous actions in apps.

A promotional video of Rewind AI.

After searching for “tps reports”, the video shows a grid view of whenever Rewind encountered the phrase “tps reports” as audio or text in any app, including Zoom chats, text messages, emails, Slack conversations and Word documents. Describes filtering the results by app and the ability to copy and paste from these past instances if needed.

Founded by Dan Siroker and Brett Bejcek, Rewind AI is made up of a small remote team located in various cities across the United States. Portions of the company previously created Scribe, a forerunner to Rewind that received some press attention in 2021. In an introductory blog post, Rewind AI co-founder Dan Siroker writes, “What if we could use technology. to increase our memory in the same way can hearing aids increase our hearing? “

How does it work?

Rewind AI provides some insight into the app’s backend technology, but describes “mind-boggling compression” that can reportedly compress recording data up to 3,750 times “without major loss of quality,” providing an example of a 10.5GB of data reduced to just 2.8MB. Rewind says that even on a small hard drive, “you can store years of recordings,” a heady claim, to be honest.

Image of a Mac with Rewind.
Zoom in / Image of a Mac with Rewind.

Rewind the AI

The Rewind site also describes using OCR to capture text content and automated speech recognition to automatically transcribe everything you’ve said or heard, even during meetings, so that “you’ll never have to worry about missing this again. content”.

(If Rewind converts everything it sees and hears to plain text, that could explain the huge compression ratio. The demo didn’t show any live video or audio recording playback, for example, only static screens with highlighted text. We have asked Rewind AI to clarify this point and we will update the article if we get a reply.)

Rewind AI also states that Apple Silicon Macs with M1 and M2 chips are critical to making the product work in a “virtually unnoticeable” way, using “virtually every part of the System on a Chip”.

Potential privacy issues

While expounding Rewind AI’s vision in the aforementioned blog post, Siroker writes, “Our vision is to give humans a perfect memory.” But the commentators on Twitter and YouTube have already begun to report scenarios where “perfect memory” could backfire.

For example, Rewind could expose its users to potential abuse by bullying partners, bosses, policeo repressive governments; legal matters from the recording of sensitive information; And consent issues around recording other people in meetings.

Rewind addresses some of these concerns on its site by saying, “We store all recordings locally on your Mac. Only you have access to them.” Their demo site also says that you will be able to pause or delete recordings at any time, and you can automatically exclude certain apps from the recorded history, including private browsing modes in browsers.

A screenshot of the privacy information from the Rewind website.
Zoom in / A screenshot of the privacy information from the Rewind website.

Rewind the AI

When it comes to obtaining permission to record a meeting with other attendees, Rewind provides its own help page titled “Everything You Need to Know About Consent” which includes tips such as “Before registering someone, you should always ask for their consent. “. The page recommends telling people that the meeting will be recorded, possibly in advance, and that users follow all local laws regarding recording conversations.

Privacy and ethical concerns aside, Andreessen Horowitz is taking the technology seriously enough to conduct a $ 10 million funding round with a $ 75 million valuation. The venture capital firm wrote about the reasons for investing in Rewind, proposing the product as a cure for information overload.

Currently, the Rewind product is not publicly available, but anyone interested can request “Early Access” on the Rewind website. We contacted Rewind and asked for a chance to try the software.

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