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Why we live the quantified life

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My talk from Northern Voice 2013.

There's an app to track nearly everything about ourselves: the calories we consume and burn, every penny we spend, the hours we sleep, every song we listen to--the list goes on and on.

Why are we compulsive counters of ourselves and our lives? Over the past fifteen years, technology has enabled us to document and quantify nearly every aspects of our day-to-day existence. And the Internet has enabled us to share it and discover fellow self-trackers. This talk explores how and why an increasing number of people practice self quantification or 'sousveillance':

Why do we track our lives this way?
Does looking at this data change our behaviour?
Why, having assembled the data, do we share it?
Why would gathering all this data be a bad idea?
Can we truly know ourselves through this practice?
You'll leave this talk either inspired to start tracking your trips to the bathroom, or deeply unnerved by those who do.

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Why we live the quantified life

  1. 1. Why we live the quantified life@dbarefoot
  2. 2. Darren talks: 28 minutesAudience talks: 17 minutesMoments of wonder and delight: 4Calories burned by nods of assent: 231Seconds of applause: 9
  3. 3. When the screen goesblack, we go to thestudio audience
  4. 4. What is thequantified life?
  5. 5. Why is it possible?1. Electronic sensors got smaller and better2. People started carrying around computers3. Social media made it normal to share4. “The Cloud” becomes a commonplace idea
  6. 6. Things I have counted• Hours slept• Calories consumed• Calories burned• Money spent• Steps taken
  7. 7. More things I have counted• Minutes spent studying• Pages read• Hours worked• Words written• Time spent
  8. 8. Still more things I havecounted• Weights lifted• Songs played• Water consumed• Urine passed• Thoughts thunk
  9. 9. What else have youcounted?
  10. 10. We are all counters
  11. 11. Anecdotal vs. Empirical
  12. 12. Passive vs.Active
  13. 13. What apps are youusing?
  14. 14. In aggregate
  15. 15. Do you aggregate andcompare your data toothers?
  16. 16. Why?
  17. 17. “If you watch something, youtend to get better at improvingon it.”Dr. Mark Gerstein
  18. 18. “I think the Reports have mademe a much more aware of myroutines and grateful when Ican break from them.”- Nick Felton
  19. 19. “You must not dilly-dally.”-Buster Benson
  20. 20. “The moreyou look,the less youreally know.”
  21. 21. Why do you measureyour life? Why don’tyou?
  22. 22. Get ready.
  23. 23. Please applaud for9 seconds
  24. 24. Stop clapping now
  25. 25. Other comments,questions orconsiderations?
  26. 26. DarrenBarefoot.com@dbarefoot

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