Naveen Selvadurai, who co-founded Foursquare, talked to Major League Hacking co-founder Jonathan Gottfried about his fascination with the concept of a “quantified self”.
“‘Quantified self‘ is a term that came around in 2008,” Selvadurai said. “By tracking more things about our daily lives… we can actually improve something about ourselves… or taking these numbers into a bigger group of some sort, can we actually affect change in the future, about our bodies and our lives and so on,” he explained.
Quantifying yourself doesn’t necessary mean wearing all the latest high-tech gadgets. “Every time you step on a scale you’re quantifying yourself. So without even knowing it, we’re all kind of members of this movement,” Selvadurai noted.
The online entrepreneur likes to track his own personal data as a small part of an emerging experiment — “How can we kind of bend this data to inform us better, to change something about ourselves, to form the future of products,” he asked. Selvadurai cited Buster Benson as a public example of that experiment.
Products such as Google Glass can inadvertently muddle the questions. “Where I think you sort of might get into trouble, or people start questioning it, is where you’re collecting data on behalf of someone else,” he continued. “You’re tracking me without my permission.”
Emerging research, he concluded, needs to focus on how to make sense of all the data.