Crossposted at Medium

What is Memri?

Memri is your digital assistant that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help you organize and manage your data from a single encrypted place, giving you a better and safer experience with your device, and a tool to truly own your data.

Imagine all your messengers, social networks, emails, photos, notes and calendars in a single app. That’s Memri! No more app-to-app switching, ads and attention-grabbing social media feeds.

What can I do with Memri?

Pretty much anything that you normally do on your phone every day, but now in a more time-efficient and less stressful way. To be more specific:

  • Import all your data in one place & get it all connected so you can efficiently browse it
  • Receive all messages and answer them, no matter the app!
  • See all photos, notes and contacts related to a particular event
  • Quickly find things that tend to get lost in the stream of information (like the link to that website a friend showed you at lunch a couple of weeks back)
  • Get more insights: check how often you went to the gym last month, how many texts you send per day, how much of your screen time today was undue.

and a lot more!

What’s in it for me?

A comfortable, stress-free and time-efficient experience with your phone. Every week we attend numerous places and meet people, all the while sending hundreds of messages, making notes and taking pictures.

While you can separately check your calendar, text history and photo album, there is currently no way for people to access a network that would interconnect all this information. As a result, important parts of your digital self constantly get lost in the constant stream of data, or pile up all across different applications, and are often hard to find when you need them.

With Memri, you’re empowered to:

  • Reclaim control over what you see, when you see it, and how you see it
  • Reduce screen time
  • Increase efficiency & focus

How can I be sure that Memri is secure?

Memri is an open-source project that has data privacy written into its DNA (or code, to be more precise). Instead of having to trust us (which we hope you do!), you can verify it by checking our code anytime, asking an independent expert, or reading third-party audit results.

We don’t have private keys to your data — and wherever you run the pod, the hoster is not able to read the data from disk or while it is being transferred to you.

All our development is made open source under the Memri Privacy Preserving License. It prevents us, as well as anyone else, from taking data from users and selling it, or using it for any other non-disclosed purposes.

I’m a developer. How can I contribute?

Memri is an open source privacy tech project developed by independent contributors, who are as passionate about data privacy and maintaining meaningful relationships with technology as we are. To learn more about how you can contribute, please visit this page.

What’s a Pod? Will it require any special skills to use?

In technical terms, a Pod — a Personal Online Datastore — is a core component of Memri written in Rust with a SQLite database providing a Graph API to store and access your data. The Pod is the place where your data is safely stored and with which you interact via the Memri app.

As Memri is completely open source, you can host a Pod on your own hardware — in theory, that’s the safest way to run it. However, we understand that self-hosting can be too much of a hassle for many users, so we will offer Pod hosting services as well.

If I install Memri on my phone and my computer, will my data be shared between the two apps?

Yes, they are synced via the Pod.

How much does it cost to use Memri?

The software is open source and free to download. However, as not everyone is capable to host their own pod, we will offer hosting as a service to be priced additionally.

How does Memri make money if the software is open source / free to download?

We will offer hosting as a paid service for users that don’t want to engage in hosting their own Pods. Additionally, we are considering adding paid subscriptions for certain features and like specific machine learning models or services in the future.

When will Memri be officially released?

The beta launch is scheduled for Q4 2020, although there is no date set in stone at this moment.

How can my data be private if I still have to send the actual emails/messages/social posts on those platforms?

This is a complex question, so let us first explain how we approach it, and then why we do it that way. Ultimately, we want to empower users by giving them back control over their data.

It will go in two phases:

Phase 1. Giving users full access to the data they generate on multiple platforms

Currently, you can view your data only through scattered closed systems that doesn’t allow you use it and create a network of connections between it.

At first, some messages will inevitably go through third-party servers, since most popular messaging apps are ultimately walled gardens when it comes to transparency. At this stage, however, with Memri you will get access to your data in ways which you previously didn’t have.

Any information you derive from that will be stored on your Pod and therefore private. For example, you would be able to set a reminder to send your grandmother a message via WhatsApp at least once a week. WhatsApp would still know that you’re sending messages to a person, but they won’t know that you’ve set up a reminder for that and that that person is your grandmother.

Phase 2. Giving users the opportunity to not have to rely on third parties that don’t preserve their privacy

After you’ve regained full access to your own data, a next step will be to fully control it, and block other parties from watching. In order to do that, Memri is working hard to find the least privacy invasive solutions and to give you true ownership, that we will be introducing as we move on.

Why does it go that way?

For years, we’ve lived in a world with business models centered around centralizing and provoking access to your data. The apps we use for day-to-day communication are hardly designed to be private and data-conscious. Even more so, in a lot of cases they are designed to actively gather information about their users and selling that to 3rd parties.

Now that we see more and more of the downsides of that process, we want to revert it. But building a more human-centered digital life is a complex and gradual process that will inevitably take time. That’s why we see data privacy as a spectrum, and we are walking this way, one step at a time.

Will I be able to monetize my data with Memri?

We are planning to create the tools that allow users to monetize their data with specific parties for specific purposes, without compromising their privacy. For instance, you could allow machine learning models from hospitals access your data so they can use that information to train models to help predict potential health risks at earlier stages.

Apart from that (and perhaps, more importantly) we see Memri as a tool that we can use to gather with like-minded people to solve problems we face in life: supporting scientific research (e.g. cancer research) and various data-driven collaborations (growing food, making the environment safer, creating better spam filters).