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Knowthyself sxsw @benessen

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One step at a time numbers are changing the world. Education, politics, transport: so many areas of of our lives have been enhanced through quantification. One stat, one infographic at a time, society has become acclimatised to talking about the world through the lens of numbers, data and patterns. Our contemporary view of the world is now rooted in quantification.

So it’s no surprise really that the next frontier to be enhanced by ‘quantification’ should be our own personal lives. Our health, our finances, our habits. The Quantified Self’s time has come. Venture funding for Quantified Self startups has increased 165% in the last year . There are now over 500 different tools listed on the hub site for the Quantified Self movement.

So could it be that personal data is the secret weapon to help us rise through this, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? Could it be that self-quantification will evolve us to the pinnacle - of self-actualisation?

Not yet. When you look at the majority of Self Tracking tools out there - tools to track my sleep, tools to track my movement, tools to track what i eat, they are still firmly rooted at the bottom of the pyramid. Currently we’re not rising up the hierarchy of needs so much as getting really good at the basics.

Actualisation has become a the hot topic on the West Coast and our greatest innovators are turning their attention to the question of how technology can improve our overall human condition. Using technology to help us find focus and mindfulness in an increasingly stressed out world. Using technology to inspire awareness and wisdom - 2.0.

The underlying principle is that quantification acts as a mirror, forcing us to stop and to look - at both ourselves and our actions - to notice patterns, problems and habits we can fix.

[Examples of the Hierarchy of the Quantified Self]

Knowledge - rational awareness of what we’re doing - isn’t enough to change our behaviours. The majority of our behaviours are automatic, emotional, irrational - driven by a very different part of the brain to the one that processes data.

To help us evolve as people, the quantified self must be able to change behaviour too. And simply looking retrospectively at our data will never be enough to impact that behaviour. Bad habits are too ingrained and automatic for that.

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Much of our discourse on self-analysis is still rooted in the ideas, language and codes of psychology laid out by people like Freud a century ago. It is a field still heavily weighted towards using words and metaphors. Language over data. It’s probably time we brought a little more quantification, a little bit more science into the way we think about how we think and feel.

But any form of quantification should be counterbalanced by qualification. Because the real value often doesn’t come from the data at all, but from the process of doing, documenting and then reflecting on those experiences through documentation.

Published in: Technology

Knowthyself sxsw @benessen

  1. Know Thyself. Self Actualization By Numbers @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  2. Friday, 7 March 2014
  3. Rachelle DiGregorio Friday, 7 March 2014
  4. Friday, 7 March 2014
  5. Friday, 7 March 2014
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  7. Friday, 7 March 2014
  8. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Self Actualization Esteem Confidence, Achievement Belonging Friendship, Family, Love Security of Body, Property, Resources Physiological Food, water, sleep, sex, excretion @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  9. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Self Actualization Esteem Confidence, Achievement Belonging Friendship, Family, Love Security of Body, Property, Resources Physiological Food, water, sleep, sex, excretion @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  10. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Self Actualization Esteem Confidence, Achievement Belonging Friendship, Family, Love Security of Body, Property, Resources Physiological Food, water, sleep, sex, excretion @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  11. Friday, 7 March 2014
  12. Friday, 7 March 2014
  13. Data = Mirror “I think that self-awareness is about mirroring yourself, seeing yourself, in whatever it is that you do. I'm using a Jawbone UP to mirror my activity so I can "see" it. If I meditated more, I'd notice recurring thoughts, etc. This is another modality of the same sort of awareness gathering” @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  14. “The idea that our mental life is affected by hidden causes is a mainstay of psychology. Tracking = Attention Nearly every therapeutic prescription involves an invitation to notice, to pay attention.” @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  15. Reporter for iphone “I want you to be scared by your routine, or by decisions you haven’t thought about because you don’t want to face them” Friday, 7 March 2014
  16. TRACK better decisions AWARNESS DATA enhanced behaviours ANALYSIS @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  17. 1. Manual data capture sucks. 2. Single sources of data aren’t that useful. 3. Quantification need qualification. 4. Knowledge alone doesn’t change behaviour. @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  18. 1. Manual data capture sucks. 2. Single sources of data aren’t that useful. 3. Quantification need qualification. 4. Knowledge alone doesn’t change behaviour. @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  19. 1. Manual data capture sucks. 2. Single sources of data aren’t that useful. 3. Quantification need qualification. 4. Knowledge alone doesn’t change behaviour. @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  20. 1. Manual data capture sucks. 2. Single sources of data aren’t that useful. 3. Quantification need qualification. 4. Knowledge alone doesn’t change behaviour. @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  21. Essen’s Hierarchy of Quantified Self Quantified Society ENHANCEMENT Behavioural Prompts Lifestyle Context Ambience & Synthesis INSIGHT Goal-Progress @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  22. Essen’s Hierarchy of Quantified Self Quantified Society Behavioural Prompts Lifestyle Context Ambience & Synthesis Goal-Progress @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  23. Essen’s Hierarchy of Quantified Self Quantified Society Behavioural Prompts Lifestyle Context Ambience & Synthesis Goal-Progress @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  24. Friday, 7 March 2014
  25. Friday, 7 March 2014
  26. Essen’s Hierarchy of Quantified Self Quantified Society Behavioural Prompts Lifestyle Context Ambience & Synthesis Goal-Progress Friday, 7 March 2014
  27. Melon measuring focus in lifestyle context Friday, 7 March 2014
  28. Friday, 7 March 2014
  29. Friday, 7 March 2014
  30. Essen’s Hierarchy of Quantified Self Quantified Society ENHANCEMENT Behavioural Prompts Lifestyle Context Ambience & Synthesis INSIGHT Goal-Progress @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  31. Friday, 7 March 2014
  32. The Human API Friday, 7 March 2014
  33. Essen’s Hierarchy of Quantified Self Quantified Society Behavioural Prompts Lifestyle Context Ambience & Synthesis Goal-Progress @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  34. Where people run Runkeeper data for London Friday, 7 March 2014
  35. “The idea that our mental life is affected by hidden causes is a mainstay of psychology. Actualization? Nearly every therapeutic prescription involves an invitation to notice, to pay attention.” Friday, 7 March 2014
  36. “The practical conclusion is that we should turn many of our decisions and diagnoses over to the algorithms. There’s just no controversy any more about whether doing so will give us better results.” Andrew McAfee, Initiative on the Digital Economy, MIT Friday, 7 March 2014
  37. Sigmund Freud 1856 - 1939 Friday, 7 March 2014
  38. @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #DATASELF
  39. “People are not machines but in every opportunity where they are allowed to behave like machines, they will so behave.” Ludwig von Bertalanffy, 1968 Friday, 7 March 2014
  40. “The most important thing about a technology is how it changes people” Jaron Lanier, 2009 Friday, 7 March 2014
  41. Self-tracking must feed our intuition. not replace it. @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  42. Behavior leading to selfactualization: (a) Experiencing life like a child, with full absorption and concentration; (b) Trying new things instead of sticking to safe paths; (c) Listening to your own feelings in evaluating experiences instead of the voice of the majority; (d) Trying to identify your defenses and having the courage to give them up. Friday, 7 March 2014
  43. Quantification : Qualification “For me, the real value in this whole project hasn’t necessarily come from the data at all, but from the process of getting outdoors, exploring, and then reflecting on my experiences through documentation.” Friday, 7 March 2014
  44. The best insights about ourselves will always come from within. @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself
  45. Thank you @benessen Friday, 7 March 2014 #dataself

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