The Quantified Self: Self Knowledge Through Numbers

Location: Strata OLC July Level:

A few decades ago you could have told people what a computer is for very simply: a computer was for doing calculations so that managers and scientists could better understand and run the world. But now we think about computing differently. We think of computers as tools for communication, entertainment, learning, self advancement, self-expression. We have personal computing. Today, when you ask people what quantitative data is for, you’ll hear: it is for getting appropriate feedback so that managers and scientists can better understand and run the world. But this is too narrow a vision. This session will explore the emerging personal data ecosystem, in which our data has rich personal meaning.

The Quantified Self is a global collaboration among pioneering users and tool-makers who are interested in new practices of self-tracking. We ask three questions: What do you do? How do you do it? What do you learn? With these questions, we improve our own personal data projects, and explore the prospect of a culture that incorporates systems of rich quantitative feedback.

Photo of Gary Wolf

Gary Wolf


Gary Wolf is a contributing editor at Wired magazine, where he writes regularly about the culture of science and technology. He is also the co-founder, with Wired magazine colleague Kevin Kelly, of The Quantified Self, a blog about “self-knowledge through numbers.”

His work has appeared The Best American Science Writing (2009) and in The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2009). In 2010, he was awarded the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism prize. In 2005-2006 he was a John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University.

He is the author of two books: Dumb Money: Adventures of a Day Trader (with Joey Anuff, 2000); and, Wired – A Romance (2003)