Tag: Privacy issues

TMI, Dude!

If you are a baseball fan like I am, it is not unusual for you to spend time with your fellow sports fanatics comparing statistics.  A player’s batting average, on base percentage, runs batted in, earned  run average, home run stats and how those compare to their team mates’ stats–all fair game for friendly conversation.  The personal analysis of players’ worth doesn’t stop there, as each of them has their height, weight, age and home town displayed on the screen as they step up to bat.  Can you imagine if every time you went to work a big Jumbotron screen with all your vital statistics followed you around for all to see.  “Look, there’s Lisa on deck.  Man, she really is that short.”

Well, you might be horrified to think that the intimate descriptive details of your being might be published and used to compare your value to others, but there is a growing cadre of people who willingly do exactly that despite the complete impossibility that they will ever be found sliding into home plate. In case you have missed it, there is a burgeoning movement built around “self-knowledge through numbers” generally known as “the Quantified Self.”  The term Quantified Self refers to the actions that thousands and thousands of over-achievers, narcissists and the insecure are actively undertaking every day, aided by a giant leap forward in sensor and wireless technology, to measure, track and report their vital statistics in the pursuit of living forever, or at least until the Houston Astros win the 2011 World Series in a sweep.  FYI if you’re not a baseball fan–that’s going to happen about 3 weeks after hell freezes over.

In a recent article in The Healthcare Blog, Scott Peppet writes:

Human instrumentation is booming. FitBit can track the number of steps you take a day, how many miles you’ve walked, calories burned, your minutes asleep, and the number of times you woke up during the night. BodyMedia’s armbands are similar, as is the Philips DirectLife device. You can track your running habits with RunKeeper, your weight with a WiFi Withings scale that will Tweet to your friends, your moods on MoodJam or what makes you happy on TrackYourHappiness. Get even more obsessive about your sleep with Zeo, or about your baby’s sleep (or other biological) habits with TrixieTracker. Track your web browsing, your electric use (or here), your spending, your driving, how much you discard or recycle, your movements and location, your pulse, your illness symptoms, what music you listen to, your meditations, your Tweeting patterns. And, of course, publish it all — plus anything else you care to track manually (or on your smartphone) — on Daytum or mycrocosm or me-trics or elsewhere.


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