Life-logging: value and engagement without goal-setting?

Price, Blaine A. (2013). Life-logging: value and engagement without goal-setting? Technical Report 2013/04; Department of Computing, The Open University.



Even if people don't carry a smartphone, the growing Internet of Things ensures that it is possible for your home to constantly monitor and report its energy consumption, for your car to report its location and status and for individuals to be tracked by intelligent CCTV networks. The ubiquity of sensors carried by and surrounding people combined with the decreasing costs of storage and computing power have created ideal conditions for people to gain unique insights about themselves and their behaviour. Some individuals are already harnessing this power for specific goals (cf. The Quantified Self Movement (Quantified Self, 2012)) like improving productivity, losing weight, becoming more active, or other identified medical/health reasons. But what about people who don't have a specific goal in mind? If data about them and their activities is collected, processed and presented to them automatically can they gain otherwise unobtainable useful insights about their life? This suggests the research question: "Can passive data collection help reveal information about a person or their behaviour that they didn't know they didn't know?" In this PhD I propose to investigate this question and a number of sub-questions that arise, including: 1. Given the current state of technology, which life-logging domains are most likely to provide insights for ordinary people? 2. What factors affect how a person is able to get a useful insight from a particular type of data? 3. What are the trade-offs between the effort required to collect a particular type of data and the likelihood of a person usefully engaging with the data? The major contributions of this work will be in human-centred computing which seeks to improve the interaction between a particular group of users (those without specific behaviour change goals) and the computing technology that gathers and displays life-logging data.

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