What is the “quantified self” movement and what does it represent?
It is a movement to incorporate modern technologies and apps into our daily lives. Wearable devices are used to measure our daily activities and apps such as activity trackers log our every move. It is believed that these apps that monitor our every step, snack or snooze, help us understand ourselves and our nature better. They even may benefit our health.
According to some sources, the idea of using wearable computers for quantimetric self – tracking began in the 1970s. In 2002, it was proposed that quantimetric self-sensing should be used by wearable computers to sense and measure exercise and dietary intake. In 2007, the term “quantified self” was introduced in Wired Magazine, by its editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly, as “a collaboration of users and tool makers who share an interest in self – knowledge through self – tracking”. At the TED conference in 2010, Wolf spoke about the movement. The first international conference was held in Mountain View California, in May 2011. The general idea of the movement is to use products such as phones, tablets, computers, credit cards, and in doing so generate data. Using data generated this way may help people with medical issues, insomnia, eating disorder, diet, etc. Wolf and Kelly have also founded a company called Quantified Self Labs. Today it is a global community with over a hundred groups in 34 countries, with its largest groups in San Francisco and New York.
The main issue of the Quantified Self movement is shifting one’s focus from conventional to unconventional knowledge. For example: when it comes to our health issues, we are used to consulting our doctors. However, with data gathered from our apps, we do not need to ask a doctor, we can consult the data. There are examples of numerous persons who have cured their disease simply by monitoring data. So, in short, Quantified Self represents a self – healing technique: self – knowledge through self – tracking. This is however not a new invention. Benjamin Franklin tracked 13 personal virtues to push himself to improve his morals. As members of the movement say, the only difference is in our access to modern technology. They claim we make decisions guided by imperfect and biased feelings.
It takes time to collect data and track everything that is needed. There are different segments of our lives that are supposed to be tracked: activity, sleep, mood, heartrate, blood pressure, weight etc. By collecting data and calculating them, we can enhance our abilities and our health. As a potential self – quantifier, one has to follow the methodology. To follow it you need to have different apps that gather the data. When you have collected all the data and you are aware of the potential issues, you can use cognitive enhancers like Lucid Smart Pill. Pills of this type are FDA approved and have no notable side-effects.