A movement to bring us into a more harmonious relationship with our bodymind and with technology.
“What are you tracking?” This is the conversation at Quantified Self (QS) meetups. The Quantified Self movement celebrates “self-knowledge through numbers.” In our current love affair with QS, we tend to focus on data and the mind. Technology helps manage and mediate that relationship. The body is in there somewhere, too, as a sort of “slave” to the mind and the technology.
From blood sugar to pulse, from keystrokes to time spent online, the assumption is that there’s power in numbers. We also assume that what can be measured is what matters, and if behaviors can be measured, they can be improved. The entire Quantified Self movement has grown around the belief that numbers give us an insight into our bodies that our emotions don’t have.
However, in our relationship with technology, we easily fall out of touch with our bodies. We know how many screen hours we’ve logged, but we are less likely to be able to answer the question: “How do you feel?”
In our obsession with numbers and tracking, are we moving further and further away from the wisdom of the body? Our feelings? Our senses? Most animals rely entirely on their senses and the wisdom of the body to inform their behavior. Does our focus on numbers, measuring, and tracking move us further and further away from cultivating a real connection to our “Essential Self”?
The mindset at Zappos is illustrative of the era of engagement.
At Zappos last year, 25,000 people applied for 250 job openings. Applicants are enthusiastic to be part of an era-of-engagement, post-productivity company. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh discusses Zappo's secret sauce in his new book.
Conscious computing allows technology to become a prosthetic for full potential.
Personal technologies today are prosthetics for our minds, but our opportunity is to create personal technologies that are prosthetics for our beings. That's where conscious computing comes in.
Dean Kamen's most prominent quality is his ability to dream. His dreams are big, full of heart, compassion and a commitment to a more prosperous life for everyone – through the wonders of science, technology and engineering. In the early 90's, Kamen was becoming increasingly concerned about our ability to effectively compete in business given our declining ability to educate students in science and technology. Kamen and his friend, Dr. Woodie Flowers, had a wild idea: create a competition — now a "coopertition" — where teams of students, working closely with mentors, design and build a robot.
How has the Internet changed my thinking? The more I've loved and known it, the clearer the contrast, the more intense the tension between a physical life and a virtual life. The Internet stole my body, now a lifeless form hunched in front of a glowing screen. My senses dulled as my greedy mind became one with the global brain we call the Internet.
National Lab Day is a National Barn-Raising for hands-on learning. Using the internet and social computing technologies, with the support of the White House, and the business and scientific communities, National Lab Day reaches out to the education community, providing a tool set that brings context, community, and passion to education, and that has the potential to transform our educational system into a true learning community.
Play is how our passions find us. Play is where failure isn't failure and isn't emotionally charged. Play is all about iteration and we iterate on the emerging questions that arise from within us and that we are driven to understand. With the Fun Theory Award, VW has sponsored a competition to award creative examples of changing behavior by making functional fun.
David Brooks gave a talk last week in Aspen that inspired me and that I can't stop thinking about. Note that it comes in three parts. His book is due to come out in the fall of 2009. Brooks discusses an intellectual revolution that brings together neuroscience, sociology, psychology, behavioral economics, genetics, and a variety of other fields in an…
Distraction is getting a bad name. This past month, I've been heads down on a few projects and noticing something I'd not been very conscious of before now. When I get "stuck" or when I reach a natural break point on a piece of work, the menu of potential distractions includes everything from email and telephone calls to getting…