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Changing habits, memories, and selves. How Lifelogging Transforms Us All
What is Lifelogging? Lifelogging is the practice of tracking personal data generated by our own behavioral activities in continuous digital streams.
Lifelogging is the brainchild of Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell, who used his “MyLifeBits” project to capture all personal data in digital form and create software that allowed the ability to search and review it. The goal is to compile a lifelong digital archive or a “portable, infallible, artificial memory,” that contributes to job productivity, medical treatment, school performance and more. Source: Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell, “A Digital Life,” Scientific American (2007) MyLifeBits
What is the Quantified Self? The Quantified Self (QS) is a movement that uses instruments to record numerical data on all aspects of our lives: inputs (food consumed, surrounding air-quality), states (mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental, physical).
The concept was proposed by Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelley of Wired magazine as “a collaboration of users and tool makers who share an interest in self knowledge through self-tracking.” Data acquisition is through technological devices: wearable sensors, mobile apps, and software interfaces. Stance is proactive: obtain and act on information via self-diagnosis, self-experimentation etc.
Lifeloggers and particularly QSers reject anonymous, generalized, one-size-fits-all prescriptions. Practitioners gather data that allows them to assert individuality and autonomy against mass-market culture and the established authority of “experts,” “doctors,” and professional researchers. As lifeloggers we aspire to become “experts of ourselves.”
The central question is What is right for me? When is my optimal bedtime? What is my optimal exercise routine? What do my memories look like? What diet (dairy, vegan, gluten-free, other) will make me healthiest? What activities and habits are correlated with mood, productivity , bio-rhythms, and brain function in my life? What does my data say about me?
The Evolution of Lifelogging “Lifelogging is an inevitability” - Kevin Kelly, Co-Founder, Quantified Self.
“…many of our problems come from simply lacking the instruments to understand who we are. Our memories are poor; we are subject to a range of biases; we can focus our attention on only one or two things at a time. We don’t have a pedometer in our feet, or a breathalyzer in our lungs, or a glucose monitor installed into our veins. We lack both the physical and the mental apparatus to take stock of ourselves. We need help from machines.” Gary Wolf “The Data Driven Life,” New York Times, 2010
How do we log our lives?
Multiple devices, apps, and web services allow us to lifelog. Recently, a new set of apps, software and cloud services have emerged that let us create journals while aggregating personal data collected via other services. Finally, there are forums, meetups and conferences where the users and creators of lifelogging systems converge to discuss ideas and new concepts.
Gadgets and Sensors Google Glass records what you see Autographer automatically clicks pictures at regular intervals. Jawbone UP tracks number of steps taken Omsignal Apparel that tracks biometrics. Proteus ingestible sensor for tracking medication intake Daytum App to collect, categorize and communicate everyday data Apple & Nike teamed up to connect iPods to shoes to track physical activity CubeSensors tracks environment that we stay in.
Google Glass records what you see Autographer automatically clicks pictures at regular intervals. Jawbone UP tracks number of steps taken Omsignal Apparel that tracks biometrics. Proteus ingestible sensor for tracking medication intake Daytum App to collect, categorize and communicate everyday data Apple & Nike teamed up to connect iPods to shoes to track physical activity CubeSensors tracks environment that we stay in. Gadgets and Sensors Lifelogging devices are becoming ubiquitous and come in variety of form-factors. Many devices have multiple capabilities, creating functional overlaps. Devices are also becoming smaller and less visible to prevent the awkwardness of wearing technology and facilitate seamless logging. Gadgets and Sensors
Lifelogging devices capture a variety of data Pictures, Videos and Audio Google Glass, Momento, Autographer, Samsung’s new smart watch. These devices either capture visual and audio content automatically or through a trigger like blink of an eye, voice command etc. Physical Activity Fitbit, Jawbone UP, Nike shoes etc. are devices that track the number of steps taken, distance covered, calories burnt and much more. Sleep Patterns UP by Jawbone and Zeo Personal sleep coach are two examples of devices that track sleep patterns Diets Hapilabs, a fork that tracks eating behaviors or MyFitnessPal, an app that tracks nutrition and diet Gadgets and Sensors
Mood Multiple smartphone apps like Happiness, MoodJam, Mercury App, MoodScope or sophisticated devices like a W/me by Phyode track our moods. Key Vital Signs Cardiio uses the iPhone camera to measure heart rate, Adidas miCoach makes the training shirt into a heart rate sensor and multiple other devices record our vital signs. Brain Activity Muse is a brain sensing headband that senses brain activities. Muse incorporates 7 EEG sensors to detect and measure this. Miscellaneous Cube sensors to record our environment compositions, IFTTT* to collect all our virtual world activities, Daytum to collect our every day data - there is a device and app to collect and collate everything around us in both, the real and the virtual world. * IFTTT is a service that lets you create powerful connections with one simple statement: ‘if this then that’ Lifelogging devices capture a variety of data Gadgets and Sensors
Mobile Apps Dreams - Shadow Location Foursqaure MapMyRun Photos and Videos - Lifelapse Rseven - Everyday Heyday One Second Everyday Meals - Mealsnap Mood - In Flow - Lume Personal Tracker - Moodpanda - Zen Log Health & Fitness - Bodywise - Digifit - Endomondo Sleep Trackers - Average Sleep - Sleep Genius - Sleep Time Heart Monitors - Cardiio - Instant Heart Rate - Stress Check
Web Services Beeminder Create goals and then aggregate data from multiple activity trackers and services to track progress Bedpost A service to track and provide insight into your sex life HonestBaby Web app to allow for child development tracking Microsoft HealthVault Organize, store, and share health information online Sen.se Track daily activities with your own metric definition. Many other filters and apps for the data available as well. Moodscope Track your mood daily and gain insight Traqs.me Aggregate activity across multiple devices and access via visual dashboard and reports
Matchup.io Allows you to compete with friends using different activity trackers currently supporting Fitbit, Jawbone Up, Nike Fuelband, and Withings Pulse. ProjectAddapp Connect multiple services and data to create IFTTT types of data analysis ThinkUp Import and backup data across your social networks and draw insights from the data Tictrac Provides various tools to lose weight, manage your time or watch your baby grow up. Zenobase Data storage, aggregation and visualization for personal time-series data. Joymetrics Tool to be more productive, to make better decisions and to learn to live happier. Data Aggregation Services
Meet-ups and Forums IndieWebCamp A gathering of creators to further open web technologies for personal data. Living by Numbers Conference put on by Wired to learn how better data can lead us to better health. Open You Provides news and resources about open source app for health devices. Quantified Self A community of users collectively sharing and learning more about self-tracking / Lifelogging. Personal Digital Archives PDA 2014 explores the intersections between individuals, public institutions, and private companies engaged in the creation, preservation, and ongoing use of the digital records of our daily lives. Strata Conference Not specific to Lifelogging but a conference about data that can crossover in several areas, MeetUp A platform to create meetings and forums in physical locations. QSers and Lifeloggers use this platform dominantly to meet like-minded people and discuss ideas.
Day One An iPhone app to easily enter your thoughts and memories and have them synced and backed up in the cloud using iCloud or Dropbox. Diaro Designed to record activities, experiences, thoughts and ideas throughout your day and browse diary notes from the past in an easy way. Uses Dropbox to sync between app and web browser. Everyday.me A smart timeline journal smartphone app to capture all your life moments, including your activities across the web. Momento A beautiful interface coupled with powerful tagging, makes it quick and easy to write about your day and browse moments from your past. Step An iPhone app that collects all of your life moments and manages them using quantified and visualized dashboard. Smart Journals
The Data Journey Illustrated using the example of Fitbit Fitbit is a physical activity tracker designed to help you become more active, eat a more well-rounded diet, sleep better, and turn you into a healthier human being.
Lifelogging devices capture raw data through accelerometers and other sensors. Specialized algorithms process this data to convert it into valuable & usable information. Fitbit records activities through the day… FitBit logs a range of data about your activities, including the number of steps you take, distance traversed and calories burned. It's also sensitive enough to detect just how vigorous your movements are, differentiates a slow stroll from a jog that consumes far more calories …and sleep patterns at night. At night, you slip the FitBit into a wristband so it monitors your sleep quality. It knows when you go to bed, how frequently you awaken and how long you lie prostrate, staring at the ceiling, pondering unmet deadlines. Fitbit’s specialized algorithms work hard in the background. FitBit's software relies on special algorithms to convert raw accelerometer data into usable information. Those algorithms are the secret sauce that the company has worked diligently to tweak and improve, by experimenting and comparing FitBit's accuracy with other test machines.
The usable information is then pushed back as feedback to users through the same lifelogging devices, smartphones, or web applications. Data visualization makes for better readability and response. Feedback to us via the OLED on the Fitbit device Fitbit has a built-in OLED (organic light-emitting diode) that scrolls current activity data. So if it's late in the day and you still have 8,000 steps to get to your goal of 15,000, you know it's time to get going, and fast. A little flower avatar "grows" as you become active; it gets shorter if laziness takes hold. Uploads the data on FitBit’s servers Every time you pass within 15 feet of Fitbit’s wireless base station, FitBit automatically offloads a cornucopia of numbers. From there, your statistics go to your online profile, where you can peruse details and monitor your progress. Fitbit App allows updates via Smartphones. Fitbit app is also available on select smartphones. It automatically syncs your stats to smartphones wirelessly. You can also use the FitBit app to record workouts, as well as your food intake.
Gamification of data helps build momentum and compels users to act on the data as well. Users also reflect on the progress with respect to their goals and competitions. Fitbit online profile shows the data visualized. The data visualizations can help you view your progress and historical records. You can track daily goals, share progress with friends, and compare against your historic averages. You can also create and monitor a food plan that helps you make better eating choices. Gamification features introduce competition with self and others. As you achieve specific goals, you'll unlock virtual badges that reward your positive behavior. These tokens recognize your achievements and push you to aim for higher goals. Data needs more data to work efficiently! In order for all of this to work properly for a population that differs greatly in terms of physical characteristics, FitBit needs more information. Using your Web-based account, you enter personal information regarding age, weight, height and sex. You can also click to log your meals so that FitBit knows how many bacon triple cheeseburgers you need to work off.
He searches for advanced tracking devices that will dive even deeper into his physiology More devices and interfaces make for a more adventurous journey… Victor captures his life using a variety of Lifelogging devices 1 He syncs the data on his smart phone and laptop 2 Victor stores the data on a cloud as well, so he knows he always has a backup 3 Victor experiments with data analysis and visualization 4 He defines goals and objectives for himself 5 He reads the narratives of other QSers 6 He attends one of the QS meetups to share results and insights with other QSers 7 He learns about Tictrac: an aggregation that analyzes information from different sources and presents them visually 8 He starts competing with people he met at MeetUps 9 He observes improvement in his sleep patterns and productivity 10 11 He invests in bigger and better cloud storage facilities as well 12
The Data Journey - Summarized Lifelogging device collects information.. ..which is processed by a Smartphone / tablet App Data visualization tools/ services aid in combining multiple data streams Data is stored on personal devices.. ..or via web and cloud services Stored data becomes archived memory. Data facilitates self-experimentation and bio-hacking Data is shared online, at meetups or conferences
Lifelogging transforms us
Lifelogging and self-tracking are altering the Futures of: Memory, Remembering, Forgetting, Storytelling, Privacy, Law enforcement, Governance, Bodies, and our very Humanness.
Archive our memories Lifelogging allows us to:
Lifelogging tools are designed to create comprehensive digital archives that can act as an extension of human memory. The point is to capture not just the big moments in life, but the many trivial moments in between—which are more easily forgotten. Visual cues trigger memory and aid in recall. Logging cameras have been shown to help people with Alzheimer’s; the applications for dementia and aging memory-loss are many. Passively captured images also cause people to remember more than they would with actively taken photos. Lifelogging cameras and apps act therefore as memory enhancers. “Will being ‘always-on’ create a new generation of self-aware exhibitionists or daredevils? Or will it be so seamless that we simply won’t notice? Or are we inching ever-closer to our experiences and consciousnesses being down/uploadable into a Matrix/ Neuromancer-style network? To digital immortality?” --Linsey Fryatt, “Total recall” [http://venturevillage.eu/lifelogging]
Total Recall Your memory is as large as your archive Memory never fails! Trivial moments become the most important ones—what would it be like to have the first photograph of the girl you will one day marry? Or one of your father before he died? Archive acts to counter the effects of everyday and ageing memory loss Instant Replay Memory is searchable, accessible, available on-demand Memory accuracy improves Freedom to Forget Memory, intelligence, and the human brain are external, portable, always on There is no compulsion to remember Freed from the burdens of memory, work-stresses reduce and we become more productive With Lifelogging tools we have…
Write our autobiographies Lifelogging allows us to:
Diaries and journals are replaced by massive memory archives. Now, we need to find ways to make sense of these. Lifelogging apps step in to make sense of our multiple data streams with the use of complex algorithms. The meanings of objects are recorded by tags, flags, and emojis, which categorize and classify our lives. Pictures speak more than words do. Our thoughts, emotions, biorhythms, images, and in short our complete autobiographical selves become part of the Internet of Things. Our data supplies information to doctors, healthcare workers, city planners, and government offices. With it, we can explore hard-to-answer questions about health and civic well-being. Apps write our Autobiographies
Discover Autobiography is not so much about writing our own stories as discovering what these stories are. The process of discovery is automated—moving from sensors to apps to stories. But there is still room to be playful with data, and to write new endings. Visualize Collectives Devices and body sensors allow us to see as never seen before—both within our bodies, and how we fit into bigger pictures. We become a part of Big Data. Data from multiple individuals creates intricate maps of our collective existence. Reflection and Sense-making The goal is not so much broadcasting ourselves, but conducting self-experiments on how to become better, stronger, faster, happier etc. The goal is no longer to become normal, but to identify what is optimal for each of us. App Autobiography helps us to…
Watch the watchers Lifelogging allows us to:
A Transparent Society Observation is no longer episodic, it is continuous Thanks to widespread use of wearable technologies, independent citizens have the capacity to watch powerful institutions (police, government, corporations etc.) and monitor their excesses. Transparency and accountability increase as more data is recorded and made freely available. People alter the dynamics of social control. Embedded Governance At the same time, governments, law-enforcement agencies, and companies also start tracking in new ways—governance is embedded in identity documents and daily life. We enter an era of “Algorithmic regulation” and automated decision-making Individual autonomy is regulated and restricted. Governments “nudge” us to make “good decisions.” The infrastructure of social control expands. Living a ‘Sensored’ Life “The benefits of increased security, fairness, and efficiency will be weighed against the costs of increased surveillance, reduced privacy, and less room for discretion.” [“Embedded governance,” Institute for the Future] What will happen to privacy? What about autonomy?
There are ever more trackers around. Department stores and companies hand out tracking devices to improve customer experience while also passively collecting data about each of us. Disney’s “Magic Bands” is an example. We are all feeding information archives, even when we do the watching. What sort of surveillance society will we become? Will Sousveillance be a tool of democratization? Or will we become a society of Little Brothers? “Sousveillance” is a term coined by Steve Mann as an inversion of surveillance. Instead of being watched all the time (by security cameras, government agencies, Big Brother), our cameras also do the watching. Instead of information being controlled and guarded, we disseminate it freely via the internet.
“…the commercial interests of technology companies and the policy interests of government agencies have converged: both are interested in the collection and rapid analysis of user data… [Privacy] is not an end in itself. It’s a means of achieving a certain ideal of democratic politics, where citizens are trusted to be more than just self-contented suppliers of information to all-seeing and all-optimizing technocrats” --Evgeny Morozov, “The Real Privacy Problem” [http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/520426/the-real-privacy-problem/] “Personal tech is just the shiny edge of a broader change. We are heading quickly toward an "Other Knows Best" world, in which everything and everybody second-guesses you for your own good. That may be a world of easier shopping and friction-free government, better health and safer lives (thank you, surveillance cameras). It will certainly be a world of sharply reduced personal autonomy.” --David Berreby, “Personal Autonomy is Evaporating. Should we care?” http://bigthink.com/Mind-Matters/personal-autonomy-is-evaportating-should-we-care Watching the Watchers leads to…
Become Transhuman Lifelogging allows us to:
We become Transhumans as… Lifelogging devices proliferate and integrate with our bodies, our documents, our lived environments. We place our faith in technology. We find all our solutions by leveraging devices, sensors, and apps. We become self-hackers, creatures who seek self-awareness through data-gathering and algorithms by which we spot patterns and modify behaviors. We patch our human imperfections and extend our capabilities with the aid of devices, sensors, and apps. Our existence is recorded by internal and external sensors as a collection of metric data streams. The lines between the data and the self are blurred.
Becoming Transhuman Cyborgs Data reigns supreme. Smartphone apps, monitoring devices, and sensors act as the new mediators and co-producers of knowledge. We exist through these things. Bio-hacking We extend DIY and hacker ethics into working on our own biological and neurological processes. In doing so, we position ourselves against the commercial exploitation of personal data—though our data is still gathered in commercial nets. Data literacy, or data expertise at the individual level increases. Digital immortality Research shows that it may soon be possible to use synthesized DNA to store data! 4 grams of DNA can theoretically hold 1.8 zettabytes, or all the world’s data!! Expanding storage space, and quantum of data being logged together pave the way toward digital immortalization. There will be enough information to create virtual doppelgangers, to keep the living alive longer, and eventually to resurrect the dead.
Lifelogging leaves us with Challenging Questions
If all our memories are archived, we are both free to forget and forced never to forget. Will data experiences overwhelm us? How will we reminisce? How will we know that more memories will bring more happiness? How will we forget in the future?
Will numbers be able to tell us everything? What will metric storytelling leave out? Will we eventually need to regulate the algorithms that regulate us?
What problems are apps and self-tracking solving? We can monitor issues like sugar intake with a device and solve problems at an individual level. But how will we solve larger systemic problems of inequality, supply, and regulation? Does lifelogging encourage us to focus on some problems at the expense of others? How will lifelogging address the big questions that confront us—such as environmental crisis, hunger, poverty, and social inequality?
“The trend is unstoppable. Some of us will embrace lifelogging more quickly and more openly than others, but ultimately we are all moving in a similar direction. The gains to be had from these detailed records of our lives are fascinating, but the threat to our privacy is very real. I for one, tend to embrace inevitability rather than fight it, so I will continue to increase my lifelogging as technology makes it easier and cheaper for me to do so.” - Keith Kleiner, Singularity Hub.
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