– Kevin Kelly, “Lifelogging, An Inevitability“
The value of including lifelogging in our lives has potential to be immense. Medical use alone could improve our lives greatly, allowing doctors greater access to various symptoms of pathologies. Having an aid to our natural memory would be welcome, especially to those suffering memory loss. Parsing the data could even provide us with recommendations for where to eat, reminders of friends we have been neglecting and a host of other life-enhancing features. It’s a transhumanist dream becoming a reality.
But there are negative potentials in this emerging field. The line between the private and public spheres is already blurring, and details we may not want known could spread. As we record ourselves and others record us a certain level of dishonesty and unhealthy reserve could emerge as a protection against being outed as less perfect than we’d like the world to believe. Conversely, many of us may end up using lifelogging to prop up our notions of narrow identity, just as blogging does for so many.
And just what data is valuable to us? Our natural memory parses out information that our brains deem unnecessary and this certainly helps us in our daily lives. When we can record information our brains would normally discard, how do we filter out what is useful at any given time? Much like the with internet as a whole, the navigation and organization of our life data is going to be critical in making lifelogging a seamless tool.
If we can cultivate transparency and use this technology to examine our lives well, this could be a great leap in our understanding of our selves. We could hope that it even allows us to step back and look at all we can objectify about what we think of as ourselves. Our bodies, our thoughts, our feelings, all of the things we identify with are objects arising in our Self. And objects always change. We will see a record of changing objects and nothing more. We can keep pealing back the onion layers of our identities but we are always, first, foremost, and in essence, awareness. And awareness sees but is never seen.