The Memoto camera-narcissism or media for the masses?

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

Memoto is a tiny camera that clips onto clothes or necklaces and takes two GPS-tagged photos every minute.  After two days, the user is expected to re-charge the camera on their computer as well as upload the camera’s memory onto encrypted online storage.  This information is organized into around 30 “keyframes” of moments on a timeline.  Therefore, the user can watch a stop-motion video of a moment that they want to remember or re-live.

Memoto boasts a five-megapixel camera, Apps for iPhones and Androids, built-in rechargeable batteries, GPS capabilities, orientation ability, and weather protection.  Memoto is set to be released in February 2013.  Six Swedish entrepreneurs created the device, and had a goal of raising $50,000 in funds for their device. The supporters, through crowdfunding online, have already provided over three times this amount.

A lot of critics are dubbing this device as “creepy,” and an extreme case of “lifelogging.”  It has also been called part of the “Quantified Self Movement,” where consumers have an obsession with recording every aspect of their reality.  Some see it as “self-empowerment by self-enslavement,” as stated by German writer Juli Zeh.  After following our current Facebook, YouTube and Twitter trends, it only makes sense.  Hence all of the references to self in product names, such as the “i” in iPhone, “My” in MySpace and “You” in Youtube.  Consequently, Memoto starts with “Me.”

Some argue that this technology allows its users to enjoy life as it happens and then recollect it at a later time if needed.  Still, privacy is the biggest challenge to this technology.  Memoto asks that the consumers use sound judgment with this device, as far as where they will bring it or how they will use it.  The company advises that the operator be conscious about what it appropriate and what is inappropriate usage.  This brings up questions of ethics and narcissism.  People do not always agree on what is “appropriate.” Certain situations are more clear-cut than others.  Also, Memoto may be feeding a self-obsessed epidemic.  If people become continually introverted, there is little time to care about the lives of those around them.  Time will tell how well Memoto will fare in the real world.

Sources: “The Memoto camera- narcissism or media for the masses?” Owen Hatherley, Guardian News and Media Limited, October 25, 2012

“What if a Camera Could Document Your Entire Life?” AlterNet, October 25, 2012

“Memoto Wearable Lifelogging Camera Wins Kickstarter Funding in Five Hours” Michael Rundle, Huffpost Tech, November 5, 2012

“Meet Memoto, The Creepy Wearable Camera That Takes a Photo Every 30 Seconds” Christopher Williams, The Daily Telegraph, October 23, 2012

“Memoto Lifelogging Camera” November 4, 2012

Student Researchers: Hope Jordan and Kirsten Bigelow

Faculty Instructor: Kevin Howley

Evaluator: Douglas E. Harms, Professor of Computer Science at DePauw University

DePauw University