Week 5 – The Quantified Self

Ask yourself the question; would my life be a better place if every step, every beat and every moment was recorded? Would it help me change? Would it make me a better human being? This essentially is what life logging or the quantified self is in a nutshell.

In greater detail, the quantified self could be defined as the utilisation of technology to collect various data about oneself. Different pieces of technology varying from smart phone apps such as Instant which calculates the time spent on your smartphone to physical activity trackers that allow users to analyse all aspects of their life from number of steps taken per day, the hours of sleep that they get, their heart rate to the food they consume – the evolution that technology is providing to us on a daily basis is endless! This type of self tracking allows users to respond, become healthier and improve their lives according to the life they so desire.

But with every positive comes a negative and as such, the life of self quantification has brought many different questions to the core and makes us think about just what exactly are the risks. The main issue that tends to bother people is the invasion of privacy that some of these services do not take into account. It would be understandable for a self analysing service to take factors such as weight, height, age and the gender of the user into concern to tally certain statistics but is it necessary for the service to require a home address, education or work backgrounds. Things that may seem minor to you could be of vital importance to another so it’s very important for these services to consider their boundaries of the information that they may require. If the information that is attained from self tracking falls into the wrong hands, it may spur on other risks such as…

  • Theft of Identity
  • Disclosing a Users Location
  • Embarrassment
  • Misuse of Information

But let us not end this blog on a bleak note as it’s undeniable that the world of self quantification is opening up fields of technology that some of us have not seen before. As someone who swears by the Fitbit which is another example of life logging, the power of one simple bracelet has changed my life and from the information it provides on my daily living, it has helped me and many others around the world to make strides to improve both our physical and mental health! Life logging? Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.


One comment

  1. This is something that’s always on my mind as a teacher, my personal life being recorded and possibly on show to those I work with/for professionally. I think once we take the right steps to review privacy settings and be watchful of exactly how much we share, there is not much to worry about. As you said, it changes our lives for the better, and that can’t be knocked! 🙂


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