The Digital Ethnography Research Centre presents visiting Senior Research Scientist, Dawn Nafus (Intel). Dawn will present on how health and wellness data is used within the Quantified Self community.
This talk will explore how health and wellness data is used within the Quantified Self (QS) community. QS is a group of people who keep track of their bodies in some way, and share what they found with others. Recent discussion in this community has focused on the possibility of “turning the evidence pyramid on its head,” where self-experimentation might be revalued as a significant scientific practice. This re-introduces contextual knowledge into forms of knowledge production that are otherwise designed to erase it. It also opens up broader questions about how relations between individuals and populations might unfold in a data-rich, sensor-rich setting—a setting framed by biomedical sensibilities, but also one where situated knowledges might be valued more than god tricks, and where data in one’s hand might be more than just on its way to the cloud. I discuss these issues through both my ethnographic research and by reflecting on my design work on Data Sense, a software project which investigated the material infrastructures required to aggregate and interpret health and wellness data in this “upside down” way.
Dawn Nafus is a Senior Research Scientist at Intel, where she conducts anthropological research to create new products and services. She has published widely on experiences of time, gender and technology, ethnography in industry, and most recently, quantification. She is the editor of Quantified: Biosensing Technologies in Everyday Life (MIT Press, 2016). She also co-leads the Data Sense project (www.makesenseofdata.com), which develops data exploration tools for non-expert use. She holds a PhD from University of Cambridge.