Posted by: jdantos | January 8, 2007

Lifelogging: Human Memory meets the Digital Age

On a three-hour solo drive through the back roads of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts yesterday, I had the great pleasure of listening to NPR the entire way. (It amazes me that VPR and NHPR have truly uninterrupted coverage in such [comparatively] sparsely-populated regions). I was truly fascinated by this episode in On the Media.

It is a discussion of life-logging, an idea whereby a person creates a digital trail of their entire life, every minute of every day. Sounds crazy, right? I mean, how much free time do these people have? Blogging and sharing digital photos with friends is cool, but c’mon, right? One such lifelogger wears a small digital camera around their neck that takes pictures every minute or so, and records sound and GPS locations as well. At the end of each day, software organizes these vast amounts of data into searchable archives with tags, date/time/location stamps, etc. You create a “virtual memory” for yourself, and it can actually change the way you choose to remember things, can cause emotional hardship if you lose data to a crash, and can strengthen your own memory, and can revive the memory faculties in amnesia victims. The story is absolutely riveting, and tells it in that rich, deep, multi-faceted, provoking, and sensitive way that I’ve only heard on NPR, from college professors, and in books. It really makes you think. Fifteen minutes well spent: click “listen” here.


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