The Quantified Self & the World’s Most Connected Human
The Quantified Self is a form of self-knowledge about oneself through numbers; made possible by advances in micro-sensor technology, and the prevalence of powerful Smartphones.
The term was initially coined by Wired Magazine editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly in the summer of 2007 who were interested in the possible implications and started a group-blog and meet up. Wolf wrote in an article for the New York Times (in which he explains much about the Quantified Self) that ‘automated sensors do more than give us facts; they also remind us that our ordinary behavior contains obscure quantitative signals that can be used to inform our behavior’; and indeed it is the potential for self-improvement particularly in terms of (but not restricted to) health and wellness that has made the movement so appealing.
The World’s Most Connected Human
Chris Dancy, who has branded himself the World’s Most Connected Human is arguably the epitome of the Quantified Self; using as many as 700 sensors, devices, applications and services at any given time to track and analyse his life. His home in Denver, Colorado, has been set up to receive data directly from all his devices and will even adjust itself accordingly based on information on his mood and needs. “The house knows my behaviours,” he told the Guardian at a recent Wearable Tech Show in London. “If I get really stressed out and don’t sleep well, when I wake up the light is a certain colour, the room a particular temperature, and certain music plays. My entire life is preconditioned based on all this information that I collect in real time.”
Whilst his video proclaiming the death of the internet and the future of the ‘inner-net’ might elicit nothing more than a few wry smiles (and probably not the kind of press Google wants if their recent do’s and don’ts on how not to be a Glasshole); as an early adopter and clear fanatic, Dancy is an (albeit eccentric) authority on the benefits of self-tracking and he claims that his “data-assisted living” helped him to lose 100 pounds in 18 months, and formed better habits thanks to the feedback.