The recording and processing capabilities in smartphones are placing the wearer in a potential laboratory. Early adopters are already today using different smart recording devices to reach small as well as big data-driven decisions in their individual lives.
Self-tracking for a better life
Many scientifically minded citizens are looking to self-tracking methods and devices to provide them with a scientific way of obtaining optimized ways of living. Various consumer tracking devices are not as reliable on a single measuring occasion as laboratory devices but they are much better suited for data collection over longer periods of time and in everyday contexts. Patients, CEOs, workers, exercisers and many gadget lovers are presently searching in their personal data-streams for leverage that may provide them with a healthier, happier and more efficient life.
New technologies raises old questions
Antropologerne has noted that the tendency to strategically record, visualize and juxtapose ones actions, conditions and surroundings raises a range of old questions that we usually deal with in our daily work for clients: How much do we (the citizens) really want to know about our selves? Who do we want to share our knowledge with? To what end? And what is the price?
Individuals are becoming banks of data
Just as the invention of demographics gave rise to the modern state as we know it and the adoption of advanced statistics transformed decision making in business, citizens tracking, processing and sharing minute parts of their individual lives are right now testing new social and scientific frontiers. Expert-users of self-tracking tools are collaborating on making science, health, politics, business as well as media adopt to the rich possibilities and challenges of citizens living data-rich lives.
Suggestions for further reading
The Data-Driven Life – a New York Times article by Gary Wolf on self-tracking anecdotes and aspirations
Invasion of the body hackers – a Financial Times article by April Dembrosky on start-up culture and self-tracking
The Quantified Self – a collaboration of users and tool-makers sharing an interest in self-knowledge through numbers
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