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‘Data gone wild?’
The quantified self assemblage,
technologies of the self and the value
of data
Deborah Lupton, Faculty o...
What is the quantified self?
• A movement: ‘The Quantified Self’
• A practice: ‘quantifying the self’
• Both involve self-...
Some quotes from the PBS ‘Data gone wild’
story
• ‘Personally, like, my goal is to basically be – an
optimal human being i...
The history of the quantified self
• Term first used in 2007 by Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf
• The Quantified Self website es...
Key elements of QS
• The body as machine/cyborg body
• The body as a quantifiable object (‘emitting digital
exhaust’)
• QS...
Key elements of QS
• A neoliberalist approach that emphasises self
responsibility
• The entrepreneurial self
• Self-tracki...
QS and data
• Data as superior form of knowledge
• Data as key to personal empowerment/self-
knowledge and improvement
• T...
Issues of control & ownership of data
• Who owns one’s personal data?
• How can they use these data?
• QS adherents attemp...
Where to from here?
• Can Qsers become part of a political movement
rather than navel-gazing?
• Can they challenge the cor...
Data ‘going wild’
• Data liberated from the confining practices of
commercial companies
• Data hactivism – queering data
•...
QS visualisations
Artistic provocation: Heather Dewey-Hagborg
Data gone wild? The quantified self assemblage, technologies of the self and the value of data
Data gone wild? The quantified self assemblage, technologies of the self and the value of data
Data gone wild? The quantified self assemblage, technologies of the self and the value of data
Data gone wild? The quantified self assemblage, technologies of the self and the value of data
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Data gone wild? The quantified self assemblage, technologies of the self and the value of data

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Presentation at the British Sociological Association conference, Leeds, UK, 25 April 2014.

Published in: Technology, Business
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Data gone wild? The quantified self assemblage, technologies of the self and the value of data

  1. 1. ‘Data gone wild?’ The quantified self assemblage, technologies of the self and the value of data Deborah Lupton, Faculty of Arts & Design, University of Canberra @DALupton
  2. 2. What is the quantified self? • A movement: ‘The Quantified Self’ • A practice: ‘quantifying the self’ • Both involve self-tracking, lifelogging, life hacking: closely monitoring elements of one’s life voluntarily • We are all becoming quantified selves (including in academia)
  3. 3. Some quotes from the PBS ‘Data gone wild’ story • ‘Personally, like, my goal is to basically be – an optimal human being in every aspect of my life’. • ‘I can look down at my phone at any point in the day and see, kind of, how stressed I am’. • ‘You want to be your best self. You want to put your best foot forward. And that’s what sharing your data with a few other people does to you.’
  4. 4. The history of the quantified self • Term first used in 2007 by Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf • The Quantified Self website established in 2008 • Now over 161 groups in 39 countries • The QS term has gradually entered the broader lexicon, particularly since 2012 • Term has now come to mean self-tracking and not just membership of the QS movement
  5. 5. Key elements of QS • The body as machine/cyborg body • The body as a quantifiable object (‘emitting digital exhaust’) • QS as ‘the science of the self’ • Digital technologies provide certainty and objectivity (‘Computers don’t lie’)
  6. 6. Key elements of QS • A neoliberalist approach that emphasises self responsibility • The entrepreneurial self • Self-tracking practices as technologies of the self
  7. 7. QS and data • Data as superior form of knowledge • Data as key to personal empowerment/self- knowledge and improvement • The importance of sharing one’s data with others • ‘Show-and-tell’ important to the QS movement • Methods of visualisation also important • Bringing different datasets together
  8. 8. Issues of control & ownership of data • Who owns one’s personal data? • How can they use these data? • QS adherents attempt to produce their own customised data assemblages • Creativity often involved to collect and represent data • Qsers in the vanguard of data activism, but from an individualised viewpoint
  9. 9. Where to from here? • Can Qsers become part of a political movement rather than navel-gazing? • Can they challenge the corporatisation of big data/data as surveillance? • What are the limits of quantifying the self?
  10. 10. Data ‘going wild’ • Data liberated from the confining practices of commercial companies • Data hactivism – queering data • Resistant practices of artists and designers
  11. 11. QS visualisations
  12. 12. Artistic provocation: Heather Dewey-Hagborg

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