Sunday, April 28, 2013

Quantified Self Fourth Person Perspective and Self 2.0

Quantified self trackers1 are having an increasingly intimate relationship with technology and data flow in mediating their experience of reality. Technology effectively opens up a new perspective (as vaunted by Nietzsche), a fourth person perspective – a new and objective view of the self, possibly on the road to creating the overself (self 2.0). An important and radical aspect of quantified self (QS) activity is its inherent linkage of the former binary of quantified and qualified in three important ways:

1) The QS Act Itself 
The very act of QS’ing fundamentally includes both the collection of objective metrics data and the subjective experience of the impact of these data

2) QS’ing the Qualitative 
QS methods are now being applied to the tracking of (formerly objectively inaccessible) qualitative phenomena such as mood (e.g.; tracking qualitative word descriptors or mapping subjective experience onto quantitative scales)

3) Quant-Qual are part of a Larger Phenomenon 
To understand QS’ing is to see that it is part of a larger more complex process in which the quantified data collection and the qualitative experience of the data are nodes in feedback loops for behavior change. Data, information, understanding, and action are constituent parts of the looping process

1Quantified self activity: the self-tracking of any kind of biological, physical, behavioral, or environmental information, often with a proactive stance towards action

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