29 September 2013

The Qualified Self

Be the first to share

Looking at yet another tweet and another post about the Quantified Self, I started reflecting this morning on the Silicon Valley-driven fascination with the quantification of one’s own activities, body and habits.

The Quantified Self movement is portrayed as the nec-plus-ultra of objectivity that will help us live a better life. But something big is missing, and Jenny Davis PhD, a sociologist who teaches at James Madison University, seeks to address the fundamental issue of “why”. She argues (in a March 2013 blog post) that the reasons why people quantify themselves are entirely qualitative, with all that this implies:

“Self-quantification has a really important, prevalent, and somewhat ironic, qualitative component. This qualitative component is key in mediating between raw numbers and identity meanings. If self-quantifiers are seeking self-knowledge through numbers, then narratives and subjective interpretations are the mechanisms by which data morphs into selves. Self-quantifiers don’t just use data to learn about themselves, but rather, use data to construct the stories that they tell themselves about themselves. […]

Self-qualification is present from the beginning, as decisions about what to measure and how to do so are highly subjective, and rest upon subject narratives. […]

Self quantification is a process bookended by self qualification. Yes, the numbers are important. Self-quantification is, by definition, self-knowledge through numbers. Those numbers, however, take shape qualitatively. They become the code with which self-quantifiers prosume selves and identities into being. They are the bits with which self-quantifiers make sense of their atoms. ”

(My emphasis)

Be the first to share
20 January 2019
[Book] The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for the Future at the New Frontier of Power Shoshana Zuboff Profile Books, 31 January 2019 704 pages The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of …
11 January 2019
[Book] Left to Our Own Devices
Left to Our Own Devices: Outsmarting Smart Technology to Reclaim Our Relationships, Health, and Focus Margaret E. Morris MIT Press, 2018 192 pages Unexpected ways that individuals adapt technology to reclaim what matters to them, from working through conflict …
22 December 2018
The tyranny of story
In this BBC Radio 4 series, British journalist John Harris examines the potency of narrative, both in the stories that define us as individuals and in those that shape our understanding of the public domain. Story …
27 November 2018
Nielsen Norman Group on the user experience of chatbots
Far from being ‘intelligent’, today’s chatbots guide users through simple linear flows, and our user research shows that they have a hard time whenever users deviate from such flows, writes Raluca Budiu of the Nielsen …
20 November 2018
[Book] Who can you trust?
Who can you trust? How Technology Brought Us Together and Why It Might Drive Us Apart by Rachel Botsman Public Affairs November 2017, 336 pages If you can’t trust those in charge, who can you trust? From government to business, …
19 November 2018
What are Europe’s rules for democratic artificial intelligence?
Vincenzo Tiani has written an excellent summary in Wired Italia of the recently published "Ethical Framework for a Good AI Society: Opportunities, Risks, Principles, and Recommendations", by AI4People, a task force of European experts. With the …
18 November 2018
Consumer behaviour and the circular economy
Report: Behavioural Study on Consumers’ Engagement in the Circular Economy London Economics for the European Commission – Consumers Health and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) 23 October 2018, 202 pages The objective of this study was to provide policy-relevant …
17 November 2018
[Book] Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting The Rules Of Work
Uberland: How Algorithms Are Rewriting The Rules Of Work by Alex Rosenblat University of California Press October 2018, 296 pages Silicon Valley technology is transforming the way we work, and Uber is leading the charge. An American startup that …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

22 December 2018
Our very best wishes for 2019! / Auguri da Experientia!
4 October 2018
Bringing​ ​patients into focus at the Roche Innovation Summit

Experientia is proud to have been a key participant at the Roche Innovation Summit, held at Roche headquarters in Basel Switzerland on 19 June 2018. Themed “​Transforming the Healthcare Experience Together​”, the summit aimed to galvanize the Roche community around the future transformation of healthcare and diagnostics. With 800 attendees from Roche and Genentech global […]

13 June 2018
Invito: DesAlps design thinking workshop per la tua startup

Hai una startup? Hai mai pensato ai benefici che potrebbe trarre dal Design Thinking? Questa è l’opportunità per scoprirlo! DesAlps Workshop #2: Il Design Thinking per la tua startup! Giovedì 28 giugno 2018 – dalle 9:30 alle 17:00 @ I3P | Corso Castelfidardo 30/a, Torino —– Nell’ambito del progetto europeo DesAlps, un team di esperti […]

3 May 2018
Invito: DesAlps innovation workshop per le PMI del territorio piemontese

Experientia è lieta di invitare le piccole e medie imprese del territorio piemontese al: DesAlps Workshop #1: Il Design Thinking per le PMI Venerdì 18 maggio 2018 – dalle 9.00 alle 17.30 @ Rinascimenti Sociali | via Maria Vittoria 38, Torino Scopri i vantaggi che il Design Thinking può portare al tuo business per prepararvi […]

27 April 2018
Impact through Design – Event in Turin, Italy

(Scroll down for English) Come può il design generare impatto? In continuità con il summit International Days of Deans and Experts: Impact Through Design (Barcellona, aprile 2018) Torino ospita il primo evento dedicato alla prospettiva italiana sull’impatto generato attraverso il design in riferimento ai Sustainable Development Goals definiti dalle Nazioni Unite. Attori dell’ecosistema territoriale ed […]

26 February 2018
Designing Patient Solutions with Meaning: Review of technology and health apps for a better patient experience

Technology is radically changing the world of healthcare and acts at different levels in support of different stakeholders. There are several digital tools on the market (e.g. wearables, virtual reality, robotics, etc.), many of which work in integration with each other, for example, wearables connected to IOT applications. Experientia’s report provide an overview of some […]

See all articles