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.