What We Want Data Trackers To Tell Us

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 8 2015 @ 7:36am

Anne Helen Petersen identifies a major reason why tracking devices have taken off:

The future will be quantified … because these devices promise the latest iteration of what we’ve always sought: happiness. Which, at least in the 21st century, doubles as simplicity. A life in which your heartbeat and respiration and location dictate when your house turns off and on; a life in which the guesswork of eating and exercising and the mysteries of our bodies could be eliminated. That promise of ultimate, seamless simplicity — and the happiness that supposedly accompanies it — will be too much, even for the most suspicious and privacy-conscious among us, to resist.

That presumes, however, that happiness is rooted in transparency. That knowledge is a source of peace; that being able to see and send every heartbeat is the ultimate in intimacy. That a life made of data — a life that is readable and, as such, changeable — is life at its most optimized.