A Digital Life

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Profile KSMarksPsych
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Message 8512 - Posted: 4 Mar 2007, 5:37:17 UTC

This article was in this month's Scientific American.

Interesting project by a MS researcher to create a digital archive of his daily life (going back the last 6 years).
Kathryn :o)
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mo.v
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Message 8515 - Posted: 4 Mar 2007, 13:36:17 UTC

It's a very interesting article, Kathryn, but I'm not sure I think it's a good idea if applied to all aspects of life, blanket-fashion. One of the important features of our memory is that it's selective, embedding and (mostly) saving what we want to remember and deliberately not saving, ie forgetting, all the trivial minutiae that would otherwise cause total brain overload. In addition to which, many of the oldest memories fade in time, allowing us to gradually and constantly become a different person instead of being trapped in the past. We're not just the accumulation of our past - to some extent we can deliberately select what we want to remember and thus partially control who and what we want to become.

I would hate, for example, all the websites I've ever looked at to be saved (though I'm sure they're all still on the hard drive somewhere), particularly the rubbish ones I've sometimes had to look at to make sure that the spammers I delete on the cpdn forum really are spammers.

If saving photos, documents, music, appointments etc can't fit into current enormous hard drives plus a notebook, address book and diary, I think it's the life that needs to be reorganised instead of exponentially increasing the size of the collection.

The idea of saving a record of one's every heartbeat to be analysed to detect potential health problems seems perverse when so many people in the world haven't got access to basic health care.

As for saving everything for perusal by future generations, well, I've delved into quite a lot of my family history and found some fascinating stuff. It would indeed be useful to have more details about some of the people. But if the genealogical researcher were faced with a record of everything those people ever did, it would be far too easy to get bogged down reliving other people's lives rather than living one's own. Most of us are already saving far more stuff than our children and grandchildren ought ever to look at.
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Message 8516 - Posted: 4 Mar 2007, 14:28:25 UTC

I don't necessarily agree with it. I just thought it was an interesting article.

There are serious privacy issues that need to be addressed as well. I was somewhat relieved to see that the authors did touch on that issue.

Personally, to me, it seems too much like information overload. The beauty of the human mind (as you pointed out) is that it's able to somewhat effectively filter out what is unimportant and forget it. There are breakdowns in this as we've all had the experience of wracking our brains to remember something important and not be able to. There are people who ruminate on and can't forget small (and usually unimportant) details, for example those with anxiety disorders.

I think you hit on a key idea. Organization rather than blindly saving everything.

Anyway, I thought I'd throw it out there for people to read and comment on. Thanks for getting the ball rolling :)
Kathryn :o)
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mo.v
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Message 8523 - Posted: 4 Mar 2007, 17:18:14 UTC

Hi Kathryn

I've heard a similar idea mooted before, so it's obvious that some people think access to almost unlimited disk space will solve the constraints of limited brain space. I can't, however, think of many circumstances in which this would improve people's lifestyle or provide extra fun.

On the other hand, I can see useful applications for constant monitoring in the case of people who are suffering memory loss and live alone, if this enabled them to be given reminders to do things. Unfortunately, some of the older people in such circumstances whom I've known also suffered from disorganisation and apathy, apparently as part of the same problem. So reminders would typically be met with 'Oh yes, I'll do that in a moment/shortly/later', by which time they'd have forgotten. No substitute here for human company.
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Message 8526 - Posted: 4 Mar 2007, 21:39:50 UTC

I personally don't see how having my every interaction recorded will greatly improve my life. I started using gmail a bit over a year ago and I tend to blindly archive everything. Truth is, I'd be just as well off not doing that. The chances of me needing a personal email from October of 2005 is slim. It's come in handy with things like the alpha mailing list. But that's more a function of things being organized differently than with traditional email.


Human help for people with dementia or memory issues is a key to their continued ability to live in their homes, rather than in a skilled nursing facility. I live with my grandmother who has middle stage Alzheimer's Disease. I see how important me being there to help her out is. She forgets things like putting her insulin back in the refrigerator or eating lunch. But a large part of her illness is apathy. She doesn't feel well. And if I remind her to do something she doesn't care. And we won't even talk about organization. I shudder to think what her checkbook would look like if I didn't pay the bills....


Thanks for the discussion Mo.

:)
Kathryn :o)
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Message 8527 - Posted: 5 Mar 2007, 2:09:19 UTC

The idea that robots could do some of the jobs that humans find boring or distasteful touches on some of the same points. If this genuinely improves people's lifestyle or gets jobs done that would otherwise be dangerous or impossible, then fine. But if it leads to spending less time with other people, or vulnerable people getting less human contact because jobs are done for them by computers or machines when they'd prefer to get help from a person, we need to think about quality of life.

Your grandmother's fortunate to be with you. I bet it isn't always easy.
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Message 8529 - Posted: 5 Mar 2007, 3:22:58 UTC

The point about the robots is a good one.

There are some jobs I'd like to hand off to a robot. Regardless of the fact grandma drives me nuts at times, I'm glad I'm able to help her.

Humans are sociable creatures by nature. There are times when I crave solitude, but there are also times when I need to be around people. I think this is probably pretty close to universally true.

One of the things I find fascinating about Autism is the deficits in social functioning.



But I've gotten off topic... Sorry Mo.
Kathryn :o)
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Message 8629 - Posted: 8 Mar 2007, 22:31:56 UTC
Last modified: 8 Mar 2007, 22:32:15 UTC

Hey interesting ideas there! Did you all see the movie that has to deal with similar ideas, and the potential consequences?

Final Cut

The story is set in a world where implanted microchips can record all moments of an individual's life. The chips are removed upon death so the images can be edited into something of a highlight reel for loved ones who want to remember the deceased. Caviezel portrays the leader of the organization that opposes this technology's development.


And also on the robot ideas.......a great look into that are Isaac Asimov's Robot series.....Caves of Steel....Naked Sun.......Robots of Dawn........very intesting ideas about the good or bad aspects of robots becoming the labour class etc.....

and quite readable......not as hard sci-fi as I found the foundation books to be.....which I have yet to make it through.

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Message 8640 - Posted: 9 Mar 2007, 3:22:41 UTC

OO!

I loved the foundation books. Read them back either in middle school or high school (too long ago to remember).

Maybe time to go to library again and check 'em out.

::grin::
Kathryn :o)
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