Plenary Talk (August 26, 2015)
Yoshio Nakatani
Ritsumeikan University, JAPAN

Omoide Engineering - social use of personal memories -

Omoide engineering will be proposed in order to support people who lost their personally important things by disasters, and its applications to other fields will be introduced.

Personal memories consist of our own private episodes, formed from an individual person's experiences in the past. Even if people experienced the same event, how they feel about it may differ from person to person. Personal memories are fully private unless we share them with other people, and our present "egos" has been formed by the accumulation of our own personal memories. Thus, memory has the role of reminding us of our consciousness of "self."

Viewed from another side, people talk about their memories to prompt mutual understanding. Talking together on the pasts means exposing and exchanging a part of their egos. As a result, people are able to prompt mutual understanding. Thus, memory has a role of building and maintaining human relationships.

Third, personal memories help people understand new situations and plan their actions based on their previous experience. Technologically a part of this aspect is modelled as case-based reasoning.

Thus personal memories have three functions: self function, social function and directive function. However, people forget memories as time goes on. People find it hard to recall memories which they have not recalled for a long time, and thus reminders are required to recall them. Examples of reminders include seeing a photograph, reading a diary, talking with family and friends, hearing a long-forgotten tune, and smelling an old familiar perfume. These things, however, may be lost in big disasters. People feel anxious of forgetting memories, and take much time to recover from disasters.

Our approach is to support such people recall personal memories by providing various kinds of reminders from a computer and to use recalled memories (1) to manage personal histories of their own and families, (2) to organize on-line communities whose members share similar memories, and (3) to transfer know-hows and experiences of experts to novices. These three purposes correspond to three functions of personal memories. In a talk, our approach will be explained through example systems which realize the three purposes.