In the past weeks, some technology early adopters and long time lifeloggers have been coming out and saying “Lifelogging is dead”. It is kind of surprising since with all the new advancements in AI & Machine Learning we are actually seeing the Quantified Self movement evolve past data collection this year.
Mike Elgan wrote on Computer World on how life logging is dead for now, stating that Gordon Bell had stopped journaling with his automated camera. Also, on how raw data didn’t have enough of a recall value.
Then I also came across Benedict Evans’ RT of Chris Anderson’s Tweet:
After many years of self-tracking everything (activity, work, sleep) I’ve decided it’s ~pointless. No non-obvious lessons or incentives 🙁
— Chris Anderson (@chr1sa) April 16, 2016
Seeing our automatic lifelogging app Instant’s growth charts & feedback, this news is quite unexpected. I am seeing lots of smartphone users warming up to the concept of personal analytics in the past year since tracking has become so simple and seamless within the smartphone. Within the Quantified Self community I have spoken to people who have been able to improve simple things like their sleep & exercise routine, to people who have been able fight complex chronic health problems using Quantified Self tools. Google Trends also shows that the term “Lifelog” has been growing in importance.
From our surveys, we learnt that people generally give up on self-tracking for either of the reason:
1 Tracking wasn’t simple or automatic, it was too obtrusive to fit in the user’s daily lifestyle
2 The user wasn’t getting value or proper insights out of the data
Maybe, the tech early adopters who are giving up on lifelogging, didn’t move to newer tools and platforms to get proper value from their data. Many Quantified Self services that have shut down over the years, due to no business model or failure in achieving product-market fit, giving tech early adopters lesser confidence in the Quantified Self movement. Now in 2016, with wearables going mainstream, Quantified Self tools are able to be more seamless. Apple also marketed lifelogging as a key feature of the Apple Watch.
What are we doing to make lifelogging more relevant?
1 Instant has an automatic and seamless way of self-tracking the user’s phone/app usage, travel, sleep, places, walking, running and more. This makes self-tracking as easy as keeping an app running on your phone. (Taking minimal battery away)
2 We have started making the data useful to the user with daily & weekly reports where the user can see trends & get some actionable insights out of his/her data. We used some interesting graphs and story telling techniques to make it engaging.
Further we are working on a semi AI chatbot coach, that will give user valuable insights based on the tracked data. Also, it will provide an efficient way for the user to query data. We are also working on a new experience for the user to share this data on social networks.