Quantified -Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life

Dawn Nafusm- April 2016 

"People are attracted to the longitudinal dimensions of quantified self data because it allows individuals to see patterns and trends in behaviour that can be linked to other life factors or circumstances. The data allows individuals to accumulate and interpret intimately subjective experiences. The ‘most quantified man on earth’, Chris Dancy, is one of the first to commit to micro-analysis of himself through first connecting himself to over five sensors per day. He started this project during a period of where he felt life pressures were getting on top of him. Mr Dancy was just as interested to know about the quality of the air around him as he was in knowing how much liquid he could drink before sleeping without having to get up to use the facilities, with how self-tracking could help him with weight loss. Over time, Dancy has used up to 700 sensors, devices, applications, and services to track, analyse, and optimize his life, his website tells us: from his calorie intake to his spiritual well-being. The sensors in his house measure his REM sleep, pulse, skin temperature and are placed even in his bedroom and bathroom to find correlations across aspects of his life. Dancy documents every activity at work in his Google Calendar, recording tweets, taking screenshots of all online activity so that he has a timeline of his entire work life. Dancy indicates on his website that quantification has allowed him to see connections of ‘otherwise invisible data, resulting in dramatic upgrades to his health, productivity, and quality of life’. Dancy became quite politicised after his experiences with self-tracking and actually states ‘if you can measure it, someone will, and that somebody should be you’ (Finley, 2013)."

 

MIT Press 2016

Book review 2017