We recently attended the Quantified Self Conference in San Francisco and that got us thinking about data ownership.
One of the most contentious and interesting areas around in the QS community is in regards to ‘my data’. For many, this data is very personal; it’s very revealing and sensitive. The idea that your data is positioning you as an outlier or abnormal to the population is also a hot topic. Some people are choosing to do QS in ways that aren’t part of larger services and communities. This could be seen as the ‘selfish’ side of QS, but the sharing ethos is so strong in QS that it’s more about being open to diversity in the data and rejecting someone else’s idea of the modeled norm. The community knows that sharing data and practices is how other people really can find their own insights, and so collaboration is key. These activities enable people deal with real issues in incredible ways, whether it’s a small group pooling their data on an understudied illness or the mass services with large-scale data sets that may help the greater good. Services like uBiome and 23andme are building up broad data sets that they are making available for scientific studies. Something that the Apple Health is also designed to support.
The quantified self is not selfish, it’s citizen science done in a way that engages and matters to the people taking part. The phrase “Quantified Self” was coined by Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf, and is already 8 years old. The QS movement now has an international conference and a growing global community of enthusiasts, startups, products and services. Many people may not consider what they’re doing as part of the QS trend, but today millions of us are tracking our steps and activities. As this develops more and more are seeing self knowledge through data as the way they will interface with health care professionals (and insurers) in the future.
Exciting and revealing times lay ahead. So grab your data and see what the story of you is!
Quantified Self Qlikkies Examples: