The Internet of Quantified Self: Reflection by Data.

In 2008 Apple Inc. filed a patent for the company to incorporate oxygen readings, heart rate and temperature data into Apple headphones. According to Wolf, G. this is beyond marketing research, rather that the application is for self-knowledge. To increase individual production and subsequent societal production we need to understand the ‘self’ – the self being the moral compass, behavioural actions and sentient capacity.

This is the quantified self. The ability to optimise ones life and the process of analysing data to produce figures relating to bodily functions and behavioural habits. 69 per cent of Americans engage in measurement of practices for health and financial reasons, however the vast majority do so through traditional platforms. Early adopters, health conscious and technological evangelists are beginning the quantify everyday functions. Subsequently the quantified self constructs a perception as the individual as a machine-like entity, with measurable inputs and outputs. This becomes problematic to the ‘mind-body problem‘ with internal inputs such as mood and emotion associated with intangible information and external inputs can be the result of tangible influences. This is due to information and biology on two separate paradigms.

Furthermore the growing trend of quantifying behaviour can be reflective of the political environment of western society. Due to internal and external functions reducing productivity, self-tracking efforts reflect a liberalised ideology that humans have the capacity for rational-decision making. This reflects the assumption that neoliberal individuals are responsible citizens, through voluntarily practicing behaviours that produce self-improvement and adjust to state interests – therefore increasing higher productivity.

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5 thoughts on “The Internet of Quantified Self: Reflection by Data.

  1. I really enjoyed the intelligent approach you took to this weeks blog post. The idea that the iPhone, with its new added capabilities relating to physical aspects of ourselves such as a heart rate monitors and mood and emotion monitors. With these capabilities, is our iPhone merely just an extension of ourselves- is our iPhone literally ourselves? Some may be accepting of these new affordances of our mobile phones, while some may be sceptical of the crossover between this technology and monitoring our health and emotions. Something a little less scary than our phone being able to “measure” intangible aspects of ourselves such as our emotions, is our phone being able to pay our bills. Apple introduced Apple Pay- which can be activated on your phone or watch before simply being held anywhere near the pay station, and the transfer is complete! With technology like this, soon we won’t need to take anything with us except for our mobile devices when going out.


  2. Nintendo messed around with a similar idea to what you are talking about. The Wii’s ‘Vitality Sensor’ would keep track of your pulse and monitor your vitals to provide feedback to the machine and customize the experience based on this information:

    It never came to fruition, for whatever reason, but the idea is indeed one that has been messed with for many years and on paper sounds ingenious. It does indeed go beyond mere ‘market research’ and tailors everything to YOU.


  3. As someone who has lost a multitude of personal belongings on a night out, the concept of Apple Pay would be cool.

    Considering the commerce advantages of digital wallets is significant, with the large portion of shoppers abandoning consumption at checkout due to convenience, Apple Pay would likely increase payments from consumers. This would be through the simplicity across in store transactions and to online shopping from their macbook due to the end to end nature of Apple products.

    Now that my face is scanned by nightclubs and Apple has my bank details – all I need is my conscious.


  4. It’s interesting to see how we are starting to integrate technology into our biology. It really brings up the question of what is too far? I think the technology progressing in things such as heart monitors and other things that allow people to live longer and healthier lives. I’m just waiting for the day when children are born and the first thing that happens is they get injected with a micro chip and surgically implanted super eyes put in. To think that this is a large possibility that it would occur in our life time. Great post that really outlines how we might be taking this technology a bit to far.


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