The relationship most adults have with science is one of observation: watching government agencies explore on behalf of us, but not actually exploring it ourselves. Science should be disruptively accessible – empowering people from a variety of different backgrounds to explore, participate in, and build new ways of interacting with and contributing to science. By having a fresh set of eyes from those who solve different types of problems, new concepts often emerge and go on to influence science in unexpected ways. A grassroots effort called Science Hack Day aims to bridge the gap between the science, technology and design industries. A Hack Day is a 48 hour all-night event that brings different people with good ideas together in the same physical space for a brief but intense period of collaboration, hacking, and building ‘cool stuff’. By collaborating on focused tasks during this short period, small groups of hackers are capable of producing remarkable results.
Self-hacking is about self-awareness, pattern spotting and behaviour change. It focuses on the end result of data collection: understanding and action. As important is "data literacy" i.e. data expertise at individual level, not just for businesses and institutions. Uncovering hidden cause and effect in one's behaviour increases individual's autonomy. To self-hack, we need to have access to analytical tools and raw data. Current 'info-graphics' are a far cry from the power a sophisticated data analysis could give to an individual user. What if I want to analyse my data differently to the analysis, let's say, Withings scales app provides, cross-analyse it with my travel data from Tripit to see if my weight is related to change in my diet during travel. Or any other activity I care to track. The possibilities are endless, if only individual users had access to their data and to far more sophisticated tools for data analysis and visualisation.
9th–13th March 2012