Gary Wolf on the quantified self

Posted to Self-surveillance  |  Nathan Yau

In his five-minute TED talk (below), Gary Wolf describes the quantified self and why it matters:

The self isn't the only thing. It's not even most things. The self is just our operations center, our consciousness, our moral compass. So if we want to act more effectively in the world, we have to get to know ourselves better.

And with personal data stuff like Nike+ and Fitbit doing well, there's clearly an interest (and a market for it). At what point though does personal data become too much?

[TED via Quantified Self]


  • My objection is that the collection of all this data is never turned into a useable form.

    I remember with what amazing disappointment I read the book of infographics that guy produced about a year of his life. None of it was significant or meaningful.

    LIfe metrics must be incorporated into the GTD review process to gain meaning. Simply having data is not enough. It must be assigned meaning, and evaluated at daily, weekly, monthly, yearly levels, etc, in context with the greater life narrative.

  • I think there’s nothing that needs to be added or developed to correct this problem. It’s a matter of discipline. People need to incorporate their data streams into their GTD reviews. And they need to DO their GTD reviews. It’s that simple.

    Self awareness is either comprehensive or largely meaningless.


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