The Problem with the Quantfied Self

Article in the Scotsman on the Quantified Self movement


HOW happy do you feel right now on a scale of 1-10? What about last night, at 8pm? What did you eat, what did you drink? Did you wake up after you went to sleep and if so for how long? How much exercise did you take yesterday? How fast was your heart rate? What was your blood pressure?

You may not know the answer to all or any of these questions, but there are those that do, who can tell you immediately and precisely. There is a growing group of people, now in the thousands, if not millions, known as the Quantified Self movement, who measure and log the various metrics related to their physical and mental health, who advocate that doing so is a good thing.

Referred to as the quantified self, as well as life logging, auto analytics, and body tracking, the rise of this trend to monitor everything we do is partly driven by developments in smart technology. Apps on your mobile phone, tablet or computer can clock what you do, how often, and how you feel as you do it. I have noticed that the runners in Holyrood Park heading for Arthur’s Seat pound their way up with attachments to their body that instruct them on their pacing and advise them on their timing, like their own personal trainer. They use apps like Track My Run which tells the runner if they are missing their fitness targets so they can increase their speed and go further.

The latest fad for a “quantified” life threatens to robs us of the opportunities and experiences that make us human. Click here to read the article.