The Inexorable March in the Quantification of Me

Jawbone MoveAt just over five and a half hours, i only achieved 84% of my sleep target last night, and the sleep that I had was disrupted. On the plus side, my 11,628 steps smashed the 10,000 step milestone. Nearly ten kilometres walked burnt over 600 calories, which is no bad thing considering the volume of apple strudel we consumed in the meeting.

In parallel with all this physical and metabolic activity, my Google Glass told me where to go and then took photos when i got there. It even helped me share the narrative on the way. The weather, in case you’re interested, was largely sunny, and i felt good. Smiley Face.

Quantified Self

My performance, it appears, is thoroughly quantified. And shared with a qualitative interpretation.

The emergence of wearable technology is transforming the quantification of me. The first step was connectivity: the always on internet. The perpetual connection to notifications. The second step was miniaturisation and the democratisation of sensors and capture. The inclusion of GPS and cameras in everything. The final step was interpretation and community: taking the technical data and creating meaning out of it. Using it to get me to do something: chiding and inciting, encouraging and providing feedback.

The technology is maturing fast: the people who question the viability of Google Glass are missing the point. This is just the first step. Wearable technology will transform every aspect of everything we do.

Quantified Self

It will geolocate and contextualise information depending upon who you are with, where you are and what you are doing.

It will help you achieve that thing you are doing by both pulling in new information and letting you share your story as you learn.

It will move us from formal, abstract, old world models of learning to ‘on demand‘ learning and performance support fit for the Social Age.

It will ground our learning in facts of performance and support us in changing those facts.

And it will do all of this under the radar, changing the world before we even realise it’s in motion.

The Jawbone Move that i’m using this week incorporates some of the best features of community and technology, game dynamics and choreography that i’ve been working on these last few years.

The experience is total quality: it doesn’t send me ‘push notifications‘ or emails, but rather engages me through dynamic feedback, micro rewards and links to appropriate deeper knowledge. It uses community to both support and spur me on. Most organisations could learn more from playing with this $50 toy than they would learn from a year of strategic navel gazing.

It’s rapidly iterating, willing to learn and, most important, meaningful to me.

Today, there are virtually no applications of wearable technology outside of specialists and explorers. Today, there’s a community that uses Google Glass to provide real time close captioning subtitles for deaf users. Transformative. There are communities using it to narrate surgery and share the learning globally. Many people are using the tech to support exercise and activity. But not many applications in work.

At work, we tend to use technology as infrastructure, to get information to people, and for assessing them. Not much in the way of facilitation.

But tomorrow, that will change. Over the next two years we will start to see innovation and application: the technology is cheaper and more accessible, more interconnected than every. Not mature, but maturing.

JawboneIn five years, everything will have changed. That’s not a bold statement, it’s conservative. As around your office: who has a smartphone? Everyone. Who is wearing a FitBit or Jawbone, Garmin or Nike fuel band? Not everyone, but some. The march is inexorable.

It’s our role to explore: to think. To try things out. The Social Age is about iterative learning and a willingness to question everything. To humbly share our success and failure and learn together. Cynicism and denial are not differentiating behaviours.

The technology will not transform us: our curiosity will. So let’s get curious together.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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6 Responses to The Inexorable March in the Quantification of Me

  1. Pingback: The Inexorable March in the Quantification of M...

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