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book | 04.04.16

The Quantified Self

Gina Neff, Dawn Nafus

D&S advisor Dr. Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus explore the social and cultural effects of the pervasive practice of turning everyday experiences into data and offer insights into how these data can be used to educate:

People keep track. In the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin kept charts of time spent and virtues lived up to. Today, people use technology to self-track: hours slept, steps taken, calories consumed, medications administered. Ninety million wearable sensors were shipped in 2014 to help us gather data about our lives. The term quantified self (popularized by journalist Gary Wolf) refers to how people record, analyze, and reflect on this data, as well as to the tools they use and the communities they become part of. This book describes what happens when people turn their everyday experience—in particular, health and wellness-related experience—into data, and offers an introduction to the essential ideas and key challenges of the quantified self. Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus consider the quantified self as a social and cultural phenomenon, describing not only the use of data as a kind of mirror of the self but also how the quantified self enables users to connect to, and learn from, others.

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