Turtles all the way down.

If we really take a project such as Bell's seriously we run the risk of finding ourselves in a never-ending recursion. It's not exactly a loop, since we're not returning to our starting point. Rather it's more like a fractal where we find the main pattern embedded in every iteration. We may start off with a non-descript event such as walking down a street, but if we're really recording everything that we do, when we review that event we then add a new event - the reviewing of our walking down the street. And then the next time we've created an event which is a reviewing of the reviewing of our walking down the street. The original event may be totally insignificant, but by reviewing it we give it greater cognitive weight which in turn increases the chances that we'll review it again ... and again.

Interestingly, though this seems to me to be an obvious drawback to undertaking truly intensive life-logging (and if it's not intensive it's probably not really life-logging), I've found only one reference to this problem of recursion. Two years ago in Technology Review Rachel Metz reported on her own life-logging experience, and also reported on a meeting with Bell. Like many others, Metz expresses more than a bit of ambivalence to the project. Her article received only three comments, one of which read:

So it logs your referencing the logs, in an endlessly recursive masturbatory tailspin.
I get the feeling that this particular reader wasn't overly enthusiastic about life-logging.

Go to: The unbearable tedium of life-logging.