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Generation Q

1 April 2010
Yanina Dayan
A person holding a phone

Generation Q is the Quantifying generation. The term "The Quantified Self" was coined by Kevin Kelly in 2007, and it describes people which use technological means for following their own activities, behavior and even feelings. The technological services allow collecting data in real time and quantifying them into numbers and easily understood statistical data. Furthermore, technology enables to follow these stats over time.

Examples of data that can be collected:

Time managing methods; tips on: improving physical fitness, better nutrition, and health in general. Another name given to this quantification activity is "the macroscope", alluding to the microscope that allows one to search into the small details-but in this case, the opposite is true: people are interested in the macro, the rough details presented in graphs, numbers and patterns.

According to Futurist Ray Kurtzweil, self-documentation of life and sharing it in a continuous information stream will be the next phase in social networks. Professor Dan O'Sullivan from NYU's Arts Faculty says that "it doesn't make life easier, but it does improve it. It gives us a wider, better picture of the world. The self-quantification provides us with a broader, more objective view of ourselves. The minimization of computers and the fact that it's cheap and easy to operate them may encourage people who lack technical training to try them out. Constant documentation of our lives will enable us to return and visit certain moments and re-experience them in a broader manner. Of course, if someone starts spending entire days watching reality documented in the past…that's already a psychological disorder".

Psychologist Dr. Margaret Morris has been developing the Mood Phone at Intel Labs. This cellular phone will analyze the speaker's mood through movement sensors, ACG sensors and a voice analysis system claims that "self documentation is the first step of a much larger change. Most of psychotherapy is based on understanding our behavioral patterns. Self quantification can assist in learning what makes them burst out and develop strategies to help them refrain from these situations. As soon as people recognize problematic patterns that can cost their relationships, they can learn how to act differently. Unlike psychotherapy which is intended exclusively for people who can afford it, self quantification provides objective and immediate insights for a cheap price. In some ways, I believe that our phones can become our psychologists. I'm not sure that they can't do better".

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