Another new internet craze is having its first rush of success. Life-logging is what all the best people are evidently doing. MBF Blogs answers some of your burning questions and offers a range of further sites to check out.
1. What’s it all about?
With life-logging you record everything you do in a given 24 hour period (or longer) but in a covert way. A pair of sunglasses with a tiny digital camcorder embedded in the plastic frames. A hat, a button, a clip on a shirt, a wristwatch, a necklace. Anything can now conceal the camera for you to catch the people you encounter.
Check out: The Autographer, ‘the world’s first, intelligent wearable camera’
2. Only like a diary, surely?
Some would say it’s only modernising the keeping of a daily diary of your life. People you write about are generally unaware of your comments, your perceptions of what they do and say.
Check out: Diaries Are Still Kept, But Now Online and Not So Secret, 7 February 2012
3. Aren’t we used to being filmed?
Already Britain is among the most watched people on earth with nigh on 2 million CCTV cameras keeping tabs on our movements. The government’s proposals to improve any-terrorism measures (by listening to our calls, reading texts and emails, tracking internet searches) with what is effectively a ‘snoopers’ charter’ are set to make us virtually naked before officialdom. So, yes, we are used to it. Does that make it right?
Check out: Personal Data: Government Plans a Rich Harvest, 9 April 2012
4. People enjoy self-promotion, don’t they?
Of course they do, or Facebook and Twitter would never have taken off. People are generally happy to share the minutae and trivia of their daily lives with total strangers. Technology permits almost anybody nowadays to be a film director or curate a collection of images about anybody else. People readily do crazy things in order to be a star on the internet. People will film anything from births to deaths.
But that doesn’t mean people should be caught unawares and have their mistakes, anger, joy or accidents shown to the entire globe.
Check out: Crazy Internet Japes Show How Crazy Some People Actually Are, 31 December 2012
5. The technology helps everybody, doesn’t it?
Originally designed to give sight to the partially sighted, yes, many of these devices are high speed image capture that eliminate shadows. That’s great. Staff who are threatened by the customers can produce accurate evidence from such recordings, far better than CCTV cameras high on a wall above/behind them. It’s only when people employ them for nefarious purposes, then the use has crossed the line into the unacceptable.
Check out: Five Downsides of Technology Don’t Outweigh Advantages, 9 January 2012
6. It’s just digital memory, isn’t it, just like basic data but with pictures?
It is in a sense. The film of your life, either in small bite-sized chunks or as a major work. It’s just that you are capturing those you interact with, but without their consent or knowledge. Look at the outrage from many when Google Street View tore up their rights to privacy, even people who otherwise embrace contemporary openness and sharing.
Check out: Will Your Digital Afterlife Make a Good Novel After You Are Dead? 10 September 2012
7. Wouldn’t you notice if somebody was filming you?
Would you? The police have long used helmet cameras and uniform button cameras which have rarely stopped people carrying on regardless. The tell-tale red dot of life-logging cameras is visible only to the wearer. A camera that is hidden on a person is not obvious at all. The new generation of covert cameras run for hours on their batteries and are activated by miniature buttons on the arm or concealed in the palm. No need to focus as a fish-eye lens usually captures everything the human eye can.
Check out: The Memoto, ‘the world’s smallest wearable camera’
8. How big is this thing going to get?
Very big indeed. Some pundits believe Britons alone will be forking out £1 billion a year by 2014 on these wearable devices. According to Mark Harris in the Sunday Times (23 December 2012) iPhone users will soon be given an app called 1 Second Every Day which prompts users to record an instant of video every 24 hours ‘and turns it into a video montage’. He said that at the end of the year you will have a summary of your year in just six minutes. Instant diary. Instant fame.
Harris reckoned that Google are developing a life-logging gizmo, the Project Glass headset ‘which will house a video camera, GPS and a semi-transparent colour display linked to Google services including YouTube for swift uploading/sharing. Every company is going to want a slice of this action.
Check out: When the Family Becomes a Nice Little Earner on YouTube, 29 November 2011