The Quantified Self Movement: Surveillance or Mindful Living

1-13-2013 2-41-43 PM

Vanity Fair interviews quantified self organizer Steven Dean, pictured above, on growing quantified self movement and why outsiders should view it as a liberating life choice rather than a self-imposed Orwellian surveillance program.

Started in San Francisco in 2008, the quantified self movement is a growing group of self trackers that are enthusiastically embracing consumer-driven products like activity trackers to measure as much information as they can about the physical state of their bodies. This may  increase healthy decisions.

Quantified self advocates are already a largely healthy subculture, so it will be a while before conclusions can be drawn about the relationship between data collection and improved health decisions.

However, as every business major knows, it’s a fundamental truth that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. In that light, Steven Dean legitimizes the goals of the movement.

“I don’t think you can move towards a goal without sensing the progress that you make towards it—without that, you’re just bouncing around the world. I really do strongly believe that the more mystery we can take out of understanding the body the better.” – Steven Dean

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