Google Doc | Author: Mati Roy | Created: 2018-11-13 | Published: 2019-04-29 | Updated: 2019-05-15 | Feedback: if you have other considerations to suggest, or disagree with some points or have more nuance to suggest, let me know

Should I record my life?

Say audio or video record most or all of my conversations

Reasons supporting

Mostly shorter term


I can replay inspiring moments, or otherwise relive experiences for their emotional value.

Improving understanding

I can replay something to make sure I understood properly.


If I forget some piece of information, I can retrieve it.

Remembering agreements with someone

If people remember an agreement differently, it can be retrieved (note: but I still recommend having important agreements made by writing and signing them in general).

Watching for information you missed out

Either when I was not paying attention or just to look for details that I might have missed the first time around.

Suing attackers

If I get attacked, it can also be used to sue the person and potentially affect their reputation. Also see: sousveillance.


With everyone’s consent, I can share a memory with someone else (potentially for some of the reasons mentioned above).


I can review my interactions and I can more easily see where / how I can improve.

Quality assessment

It can make me more self-aware of what I do in the moment and/or when I review the video, in such a way that I might better prioritize what I do.

In a work environment, it could also help third parties review my performance.

Mostly longer term

External memory

Have a detailed external memory.

In the future, it might be easy to query our external video-audio memories in a similar way that Google Photos has started doing for pictures. Example of queries:

This external memory could form an additional brain layer closely integrated to our brain which would augment our memory capacity and/or compensate for memory problems (ex.: Alzheimer).

Internal memory

Memory retrieval

Sometimes, we still have a memory in our brain, but we just can’t access it, and having access to a smell, sound, keyword or image associated with the memory can help retrieve the memory (and even with very advanced technology, maybe this would still be necessary?).

Internal memory reconstruction

If that’s physically possible, very advance technology might be able to patch internal memory if some parts are erased (either because of natural ongoing overwriting of memories, neurodegenerative diseases, or damages caused by a brain preservation procedure).

This seems like a rather long shot though. Even more so for (approximated) full brain reconstruction only from videos.

Virtue assessment

In the future, there might be ways for some artificial intelligence to anonymously review how virtuous I am, notably how trustworthy I am, and what my values are.

This might be useful for various purposes, especially if you have to give a lot of power to a few individuals. For example, if the last technology to become available to upload human minds is scanning (the other 2 being the computation and the modelling of the brain), it could be very expensive to scan someone, but very cheap to run many copies of them very fast, which might give them a lot of (potential) power. In this scenario, it might be particularly important to carefully select who to upload first.

Life expectancy assessment

I’m not sure if knowing everything you ate, all the exercices you did, etc. could be useful to for an artificial intelligence to improve the estimate of your life expectancy, but maybe.

Retroactive reward (and/or punishment)

The most effective interventions to help the world are also often interventions that have poor incentives to pursue them. Creating a culture where we give rewards retroactively might help correct for that. Having a lot of data on people could help distributing those rewards.


For parts where people consented, the content might be useful for far future generations to study their past.

Reasons against

Mostly shorter term


Some of the benefits of records can turn into harms if pursue to an obsessive extent.

Note: This hasn’t been a problem with me.

Discussion filters

This could, consciously or not, cause me to discuss less certain subjects by fear that the recording be leaked.

Note: Although if I’m motivated in preserving my identity (which I am), I would make an effort to stay myself, and actually want to discuss my controversial opinions as they might be an important part of my identity (h/t to Eric).

Note: One could also just stop the recording when they want to discuss some specific topics.


Consequently, I could also be less focus on discussion if there was part of my brain constantly aware of this recording process, and took it into account when deciding how to behave.

Note: After having done this for months, I don’t really pay attention much to the recording so far, and when I do it’s not distracting. I will pay attention to it if I make jokes about the recording or talk to my future self (or other future people), but in that case the recording is the focus of my communication, so it’s not distracting.

Social cost

It takes mental energy to keep track of who you already informed. Video recording makes it more natural to inform people than audio recording.

It might also be perceived as weird.

Other people could have discussion filters.

It could prevent me from interacting with some people that don’t want to be recorded.

This could block me from attending certain events.

Update: So far, the supermajority of people don’t mind me recording, and don’t really seem to filter (although some asked to stop recording for some topics). I appreciate this a lot.


If my recordings are leaked in some ways, there are probably things I, and others, say that could be harmful.

Note: AFAIK, leaking such recordings is illegal in Canada (and I guess most countries). I also think there should be strong social norms against consulting leaked material, especially of friends (this would be a serious breach of boundaries for me).

Mostly longer term


In the future, this could potentially give the ability to large tech companies, especially ones selling ads, to better manipulate me (more data → better predictions) (this Quora answer agrees).

Note: One could keep their records offline and/or encrypt them to reduce this risk, although this would probably need to be trade-off for the probability of preserving the recording long term.

Note: Currently, users’ control over their data seems to be increasing.

Hell revival

If you identify with your memories and you think recording your memories is more likely to preserve yourself in the future, then this could also increase your chance of living in a undesirable world (which is mostly relevant if you think some worlds are worse than death).

See: Hell Revival (considerations for brain preservation / cryonics)

Reasons with unclear sign

Act better?

This could, consciously or not, cause me to act in a different way, maybe to look better to future people / my future self (?) and talk less in the back of people (not that I do a lot) (?).


Delete the recording?

If you’re concerned about long term risks, you could still try recording to see if the short term benefits are worth, and just periodically delete content older than some amount of time (say weeks or months).

If you want the recording to be deleted when you die, one way to do it for example would to give access to your Google Account to a trusted person once you die (see How to prepare your Google account for when you pass away) and let them know ahead of time what to do with your content.

Note: Personally, I don’t delete anything.

Partial recording?

Personally I audio-record (and am moving toward video-recording) (almost) everything because:

But it’s also an option to only record some parts of your life. This is not necessarily an all-or-nothing situation.