Software or wetware?: discovering when and why people use digital prosthetic memory

CHI, pp. 71-80, 2007.

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inaccurate informationdigital devicefuture pm designaccurate informationimportant itemMore(7+)
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We noted whether users relied on organic memory or prosthetic memories to answer the question

Abstract:

Our lives are full of memorable and important moments, as well as important items of information. The last few years have seen the proliferation of digital devices intended to support prosthetic memory (PM), to help users recall experiences, conversations and retrieve personal information. We nevertheless have little systematic understand...More

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Introduction
  • AND MAIN QUESTIONS The authors' lives are full of memorable and important moments, as well as important items of information.
  • This paper aims to understand how and when new forms of PM can assist users in remembering information they might otherwise forget.
  • In his oft-cited vision of the future, Vannevar Bush [2] proposed Memex, a tool designed to help users remember and index information they have previously encountered.
  • There are prospective memory systems designed to help users remember future tasks and commitments [12,13]
Highlights
  • AND MAIN QUESTIONS Our lives are full of memorable and important moments, as well as important items of information
  • What are the trade-offs between the potentially greater accuracy of using prosthetic memories (PM) compared to the efficiency costs incurred in using it? Second, we take a detailed look at PM usage patterns, in particular when and why PM might be used in preference to organic memory (OM). We investigate these questions by comparing retrieval for spoken conversations using 3 PM devices, including Pen and Paper, a Dictaphone and a new generation of Filochat-like device (ChittyChatty). We examine how these different PMs are used for retrieving different types of information, over different periods of time, and how this compares with OM usage
  • We noted whether users relied on OM or PM to answer the question
  • We obtained OM scores from those cases where users chose to rely on OM even though they had access to PM
  • There are differences between different types of PM with CC and DP being more accurate than PP at longer Retention Intervals, PP is adequate for short Retention Intervals
  • We noted whether users relied on OM or PM to answer each retrieval question
Methods
  • The authors investigated memory using three different types of prosthesis: Dictaphone (DP); Pen and Paper (PP) and a system called ChittyChatty (CC) which the authors describe in detail below.
  • The main representation is a blank page where users create notes and/or other visual cues while recording a conversation
  • Users follow their normal practice of taking handwritten notes but each pen stroke is temporally coindexed with the underlying recorded speech.
  • This allows the notes to be used to access the conversation; when users want to re-access recorded speech, they click on a specific note, and the system begins to replay the speech that was being recorded at the moment that note was taken.
  • CC runs on any version of Windows Mobile edition on a PDA, making it portable and easy for taking meeting notes
Results
  • Comparing the Benefits of PM versus OM The authors first addressed the objective benefits of different Retrieval Methods for both Accuracy and Efficiency.
  • The authors obtained OM scores from those cases where users chose to rely on OM even though they had access to PM.
  • The authors conducted two-way ANOVAs with independent variables 1) Retrieval Method – i.e. whether a prosthesis was used or whether users relied on OM alone; 2) Retention Interval – i.e. length of time since the user had heard the story.
Conclusion
  • These analyses show costs and benefits to using PM. PM guarantees better Accuracy at longer Retention Intervals, but PM is less efficient.
  • The authors examine user confidence in the accuracy of their OM, device type, type of information to be remembered and Retention Interval
  • Both user Confidence and Retrieval Method were important determinants of PM usage.
  • Subjective Data and User Comments The authors collected user judgments of the Accuracy, Efficiency, Usability and Overall Ranking of the different Retrieval Methods.
  • These are shown in Figs 7-10.
  • The authors carried out two-way ANOVAs with Retrieval Method and Retention Interval as independent variables and subjective Accuracy, Efficiency, Usability, and Overall Rating as dependent variables
Summary
  • Introduction:

    AND MAIN QUESTIONS The authors' lives are full of memorable and important moments, as well as important items of information.
  • This paper aims to understand how and when new forms of PM can assist users in remembering information they might otherwise forget.
  • In his oft-cited vision of the future, Vannevar Bush [2] proposed Memex, a tool designed to help users remember and index information they have previously encountered.
  • There are prospective memory systems designed to help users remember future tasks and commitments [12,13]
  • Objectives:

    This paper aims to understand how and when new forms of PM can assist users in remembering information they might otherwise forget.
  • The authors' goal was to test how these different PMs helped users remember everyday conversations
  • Methods:

    The authors investigated memory using three different types of prosthesis: Dictaphone (DP); Pen and Paper (PP) and a system called ChittyChatty (CC) which the authors describe in detail below.
  • The main representation is a blank page where users create notes and/or other visual cues while recording a conversation
  • Users follow their normal practice of taking handwritten notes but each pen stroke is temporally coindexed with the underlying recorded speech.
  • This allows the notes to be used to access the conversation; when users want to re-access recorded speech, they click on a specific note, and the system begins to replay the speech that was being recorded at the moment that note was taken.
  • CC runs on any version of Windows Mobile edition on a PDA, making it portable and easy for taking meeting notes
  • Results:

    Comparing the Benefits of PM versus OM The authors first addressed the objective benefits of different Retrieval Methods for both Accuracy and Efficiency.
  • The authors obtained OM scores from those cases where users chose to rely on OM even though they had access to PM.
  • The authors conducted two-way ANOVAs with independent variables 1) Retrieval Method – i.e. whether a prosthesis was used or whether users relied on OM alone; 2) Retention Interval – i.e. length of time since the user had heard the story.
  • Conclusion:

    These analyses show costs and benefits to using PM. PM guarantees better Accuracy at longer Retention Intervals, but PM is less efficient.
  • The authors examine user confidence in the accuracy of their OM, device type, type of information to be remembered and Retention Interval
  • Both user Confidence and Retrieval Method were important determinants of PM usage.
  • Subjective Data and User Comments The authors collected user judgments of the Accuracy, Efficiency, Usability and Overall Ranking of the different Retrieval Methods.
  • These are shown in Figs 7-10.
  • The authors carried out two-way ANOVAs with Retrieval Method and Retention Interval as independent variables and subjective Accuracy, Efficiency, Usability, and Overall Rating as dependent variables
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