More to the point, what was Lifelog?
Lifelog was a DARPA project, shut down on the 4th Feb. 2004 by the Pentagon.
THE PENTAGON CANCELED its so-called LifeLog project, an ambitious effort to build a database tracking a person’s entire existence.
Run by Darpa, the Defense Department’s research arm, LifeLog aimed to gather in a single place just about everything an individual says, sees or does: the phone calls made, the TV shows watched, the magazines read, the plane tickets bought, the e-mail sent and received. Out of this seemingly endless ocean of information, computer scientists would plot distinctive routes in the data, mapping relationships, memories, events and experiences.
LifeLog’s backers said the all-encompassing diary could have turned into a near-perfect digital memory, giving its users computerized assistants with an almost flawless recall of what they had done in the past. But civil libertarians immediately pounced on the project when it debuted last spring, arguing that LifeLog could become the ultimate tool for profiling potential enemies of the state.
Researchers close to the project say they’re not sure why it was dropped late last month. Darpa hasn’t provided an explanation for LifeLog’s quiet cancellation. “A change in priorities” is the only rationale agency spokeswoman Jan Walker gave to Wired News.
It sounds awfully like something else that shares at least one thing among many things in common that stands out among the rest, timing.
Facebook came into existence on the 4th of Feb 2004. The very same day Lifelog project was canned.
__2004: __Some college dudes unveil a website only Harvard University people can use. Seven years later it is worth $50 billion, and for hundreds of millions of people the site now called Facebook is so integral to daily life that, for all intents and purposes, it is the internet.
Trying to remember a time before Facebook? If you are in your 20s – like co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and the handful of college buddies who dreamed it up – that might be impossible. But even if you are in your 50s it’s a tad difficult to recall what the pre-Facebook world was like, even if you are only slightly digi-literate. Heck, even Betty White has heard of it.
So, consider: Friendster was the social media leader in early 2004. Google was still months away from an IPO which would revitalize the tech sector after the painful dot-com bust at the end of the previous millennium.
YouTube was still a year away. And Twitter, which has created something of a revolution of its own, would have been borderline indescribable.
What are the odds?
The following excert from Reddit has some more info on Lifelog.
I researched the Lifelog/Facebook rebrand a while ago. Even back in 2004 people were suspicious: https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/lifelog-from-your-defense-advanced-research-projects-agency.12806/
Not to mention, DARPA was asking for proposals to help build the tech. My guess is that Zuck’s platform won:
“The Information Processing Technology Office (IPTO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting proposals to develop an ontology-based (sub)system that captures, stores, and makes accessible the flow of one person’s experience in and interactions with the world in order to support a broad spectrum of associates/assistants and other system capabilities.”
Notice comment #6:
"This seems rather strange… this LifeLog project comes from the defense agency when this program could have anything less to do with defense. While the benefits may seem neat (like auto-recording statistics and data when pencil isn’t available), the potential for the information to be used against you seems to be great.
Sure it may help computer A.I. in computer games, but to go to those lengths to get it? Id rather have my computer A.I. buddies act stupid so I can waste them without them knowing it. "
EDIT also, here is some text from the official .mil website (link is now dead on physicsforums), but I think it’s important to notice the similarities w/Facebook. Even mentions GPS metadata and such…
"Functionally, the LifeLog (sub)system consists of three components: data capture and storage, representation and abstraction, and data access and user interface. LifeLog accepts as input a number of raw physical and transactional data streams. Through inference and reasoning, LifeLog generates multiple layers of representation at increasing levels of abstraction. The input data streams are abstracted into sequences of events and states, which are aggregated into threads and episodes to produce a timeline that constitutes an “episodic memory” for the individual. Patterns of events in the timeline support the identification of routines, relationships, and habits. Preferences, plans, goals, and other markers of intentionality are at the highest level.
LifeLog is interested in three major data categories: physical data, transactional data, and context or media data. “Anywhere/anytime” capture of physical data might be provided by hardware worn by the LifeLog user. Visual, aural, and possibly even haptic sensors capture what the user sees, hears, and feels. GPS, digital compass, and inertial sensors capture the user’s orientation and movements. Biomedical sensors capture the user’s physical state. LifeLog also captures the user’s computer-based interactions and trnsactions throughout the day from email, calendar, instant messaging, web-based transactions, as well as other common computer applications, and stores the data (or, in some cases, pointers to the data) in appropriate formats. Voice transactions can be captured through recording of telephone calls and voice mail, with the called and calling numbers as metadata. FAX and hardcopy written material (such as postal mail) can be scanned. Finally, LifeLog also captures (or at least captures pointers to) the tremendous amounts of context data the user is exposed to every day from diverse media sources, including broadcast television and radio, hardcopy newspapers, magazines, books and other documents, and softcopy electronic books, web sites, and database access.