Introduction to Self-hacking - The Quantified Self
We will talk about different aspects of personal tracking and how this information can be used.
Self Hacking/Quantified Self
As devices become ubiquitous it is becoming easier to track different aspects of our lives. Having this data allows us to perform self experimentation in the hope of improving our lives by better understanding our habits and thought processes. We can also combine each others information to learn more about the human condition. Is this always good though?
In early 2007 I was diagnosed with suspected bipolar affective disorder, and asked by a psychiatrist to keep a record of my mood for three months in order to help her confirm this. No tool or system was suggested to me for this so I ended up inventing my own, in the form of a card game based on a well-validated (but complex) psychological test. Measuring my mood and tracking it each day helped, but a real leap forward occurred when I started sharing my scores with a few close friends who could 'buddy' me. I put my card game online, and built a system that automatically emailed the scores as soon as I'd recorded them. Almost overnight, my mood pattern changed for the better - simply, it seems, because I'd stumbled upon a way to (a) quantify my mood, something that's generally difficult to be objective about, and (b) to benefit from knowing that others were watching over me. Moodscope, which is what I called the system, was initially built for my own purposes, but other people asked to try it and now nearly 20,000 people have signed up to use it. King's College's Institute of Psychiatry are conducting independent research into Moodscope.
21st May 2011