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Tag Archive 'lifelogging'

Spinning the Net Out

Pew Internet released a report on Social Isolation and New Technology contradicting previous studies on the subject:

This Pew Internet Personal Networks and Community survey finds that Americans are not as isolated as has been previously reported. People’s use of the mobile phone and the internet is associated with larger and more diverse discussion networks. And, when we examine people’s full personal network – their strong and weak ties – internet use in general and use of social networking services such as Facebook in particular are associated with more diverse social networks.

I also think that Facebook users have real-life connections as well, but since Facebook has spread massively, my feeling is that the pre-existing real-life relationships are being sucked into Facebook too.

In the beginning, TV used to show and describe reality, and people would talk about what happened on TV. Starting around 20 years ago, I noticed that TV talked more and more about what happened on TV itself in a self-referencing way. I saw that mostly through other peoples’ TV sets since I don’t own a set myself. Seeing TV only rarely makes me more aware of the macro-changes. At a certain point, TV didn’t just show and talk about reality any more, but made reality itself, which was then commented upon by TV itself and by other media.

The Net followed a similar but slightly different path. A few years ago, the Net was limited to a small percentage of the population and it was immediately self-referential, encouraged by the easy mechanism of the link system.

Then, as social networks spread, people populated Facebook and similar sites. Recently, I noticed that real-life conversations got more into “what happened on Facebook” and this in itself fuelled the growth of the social network itself. People didn’t want to feel “left out” so they flocked to Facebook. Suddenly, people would feel left out if they weren’t present on the Net and in its happenings, more than if they weren’t present in face-to-face meetings.

The Net got priority. Without it, many real meetings can’t happen anymore as they are organized as Facebook events. Since we spend more and more time online, without the Net, we could even become short of arguments in our real-life conversations.

Many people into technology welcome the interaction between the Net and real life, seeing that as something which balances both and which takes the Net out of a cage. The problem is that the process of digitalization of reality is quite greedy and tends to incorporate every aspect of reality, absorbing the wholeness of reality starting from the mental level, representing it digitally as if everything could be translated into bytes. So in the end, reality becomes sucked into the Net, which has to be lifestreamed or lifelogged in order to become realized. Reality can be considered real only when can become digitalized.

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I click, therefore I am: Toward outsourcing our identity

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We are scattered over the Net, a piece in a social networking site, another piece in a different site, in a dating site, we write in our blog and we comment on others’ blogs, meet on chats and join forums on the most diverse subjects. Furthermore, we keep several contacts by email.

Our identities are becoming ever more fluid, we feel affiliated with various situations with only a part of ourselves. The real communities of family and friends too are now more like windows which maybe we would prefer to also manage in our computers. Lifelogging projects want to extend the scope of our life activities which are processed and managed online.

Sherry Turkle described in her books The Second Self: Computers and the Human Spirit (1984) and Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet the exploration of the psychological parts in role-playing games and later on the Net. She thought that having the chance to live our object relationships could be important to individualize our identities.

One aspect of our online identities, explored by several experts, is the attenuation of inhibitions in online life. The superego, our psyche’s structure devoted to criticizing ourselves, to inhibit our actions and desires, is weakened by our online activity. Without superego pressure we can explore parts which are usually kept in the shadow.

Using false identities, as happened more frequently in the first years on the Internet, hides our real identities (partly for our own selves as well) and the superego is hidden along with it.

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Siamo sparpagliati nella rete, un pezzo su un sito di social networking, un pezzo su un altro, un altro pezzo su un sito di incontri, poi scriviamo sul nostro blog e commentiamo sui blog degli altri, ci troviamo sulle chat, e poi partecipiamo ai forum sui temi più disparati; inoltre manteniamo diversi contatti via email.

La nostra identità è sempre più fluida, ci sentiamo di appartenere alle diverse situazioni solo con una parte di noi stessi. Le comunità reali della famiglia e degli amici sono altre finestre che magari vorremmo poterle gestire a loro volta con computer. I progetti di lifelogging vogliono estendere le attività della nostra vita che vengono elaborate e gestite online.

Sherry Turkle aveva già descritto nel suo libro Il Secondo Io del 1984, e poi con La vita sullo schermo l’esplorazione delle parti psicologiche nei giochi di ruolo e poi nella Rete. La Turkle riteneva che il poter vivere i propri oggetti di relazione potesse essere importante per individuare la propria identità.

Un aspetto della nostra identità online, anche questo esplorato da diversi studiosi, è l’attenuazione delle inibizioni nella nostra vita online. Il superego, la struttura della nostra psiche dedicata a criticare noi stessi, ad inibire le nostre azioni e desideri, viene indebolito dalla nostra attività online. Senza la pressione del superego possiamo esplorare parti di noi stessi che normalmente sono in ombra.

Usare una falsa identità, come succedeva più frequentemente nei primi tempi della Rete, ci nasconde la nostra vera identità (in parte anche a noi stessi) e con questa anche il superego inibente.
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Lifelogging

Hand with Reflecting Sphere[en]

What's the deep need for recording everything that happens in our life? The promises of lifelogging.

I remember in the early 80's I was standing outside an ethnic restaurant in Milan with friends and we met a very young man, no older than ourselves. He told me that he had installed a tape recorder on his "500", a very small and cute Italian car. Any time he started the engine, the tape recorder automatically switched on so he could record conversations with his passengers and later listen to them.

His goal was to listen to himself talking later on. This guy was a nice and interesting character, and genuinely interested in knowing the different parts of himself, he wasn't a controlling paranoid personality. "One, No one and One Hundred Thousand" as Pirandello say. We are One for us, ultimately No one, but One Hundred Thousand for every different person we meet.

During the 80's some people in the alternative scene/culture were looking at the first video recording technologies as something that could bring more awareness in people's consciousness, as it were a Gurdjieffian continuous remembrance of ourselves. Now technology has evolved a lot more and Kevin Kelly writes about Lifelogging:

The goal of lifelogging: to record and archive all information in one’s life. This includes all text, all visual information, all audio, all media activity, as well as all biological data from sensors on one’s body. The information would be archived for the benefit of the lifelogger, and shared with others in various degrees as controlled by him/her.

Kevin Kelly is brilliant in forecasting the evolution of technology, but his analysis don't focus especially on the other half of the story: the impact of technologies on the soul. His classic book is Out of Control, that I published into Italian in the 90's.

First I ask myself what's the deep need for recording everything that happens in our life. Apart from the practical reasons to have such lifeloggings, I suspect it reflects on a different level a more spiritual, evolutionary need having to do with the desire to freeze certain life moments in order to be fully aware of them in our consciousness, in order to participate fully and deeply in the flow of life.

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Qual è il bisogno profondo di registrare tutto ciò che avviene nella nostra vita? Le promesse del lifelogging.

Mi ricordo che all'inizio degli anni 80 ero fuori da un ristorante etnico a Milano con alcuni amici, dove abbiamo conosciuto un ragazzo della nostra età. Mi disse che aveva installato un registratore sulla sua 500, di modo che ogni volta che accendeva il quadro il registratore si attivava automaticamente per registrare le conversazione con i suoi passeggeri. In questo modo poteva ascoltare di nuovo se stesso conversando in un momento successivo.

Era un tipo simpatico ed interessante, e realmente interessato a conoscere le diverse parti di se stesso, non si trattava di una personalità paranoica controllante. "Uno, Nessuno, Centomila" come scriveva Pirandello. Siamo Uno per noi stessi, in ultima analisi Nessuno, ma Centomila per ogni diversa persona che incontriamo.

In quegli anni 80 alcune persone della cultura alternativa consideravano le prime tecnologie di videoregistrazione come qualcosa che avrebbe potuto portare più consapevolezza nella coscienza delle persone, come se fosse stato un ricordo di sè alla Gurdjieff. Ora la tecnologia è molto più evoluta e Kevin Kelly scrive del Lifelogging (lo traduco dall'inglese): 

Lo scopo del lifelogging: registrare e archiviare tutte le informazione della vita di una persona. Queste comprendono tutti i testi, tutte le informazioni visive, tutte le attività di ogni media, e anche tutti i dati biologici da sensori posti nel corpo. Queste informazioni verrebbero archiviate per il beneficio del lifelogger e condivise con altri a diversi livelli a scelta del lifelogger.

Kevin Kelly è brillante nel predire l'evoluzione della tecnologia, ma spesso le sue analisi non si focalizzano in modo particolare verso l'altra metà della storia: l'impatto della tecnologia sull'anima. Il suo testo classico è Out of Control, che ho pubblicato in Italiano quando ero editore di Apogeo/Urra.

Mi chiedo innanzitutto quale sia il bisogno profondo di registrare tutto ciò che avviene nella nostra vita. A parte le ragioni prettamente pratiche nel possedere un lifelogging, sento che questo bisogno riflette a un diverso livello un bisogno di carattere più evolutivo e spirituale: il desiderio di fermare alcuni momenti della vita per averne piena consapevolezza nella nostra coscienza, per poter partecipare in pieno e in profondità al flusso della vita.

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