• Calvo, Rafael A.
  • Peters, Dorian


The new possibilities afforded by cloud computing infrastructure, with respect to the large amounts of data that can now be collected and processed unobtrusively, have triggered a growing interest in systems that record personal life events. We go on the notion that this information can be used as a kind of extended memory to support insights into our past and our present lives. However, as we argue in this paper, the psychological processes and consequences underlying the interpretation of this data can be significantly more complex and less predictable than has generally been acknowledged. Specifically we look at two phenomena: first, that of re- interpretation (that events are reinterpreted every time we recall them) and second, that humans participate in ironic processes such that even self-control goals can become obstacles to behavior change. In this paper we put forward that as we design life-logging systems, personal informatics or quantified-self technologies in future, will need to better find ways to take into account this psychological complexity in order to be effective and avoid inadvertent harm. We also briefly review theoretical frameworks and psychological evidence that may inform the way we design such systems going forward.


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