Cicle
Technology & capitalism

Compass to Sentinel: The Automation of Self-tracking Technology

Natasha Schüll

(New York University, Department of Media, Culture and Communication)

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The talk draws on ethnographic fieldwork to argue that a shift is underway in the logic of behavioral guidance informing the design and use of so-called self-tracking technology — apps and wearable devices that sense, record, and analyze users’ data. While first-wave self-tracking technologies were designed to serve as digital compasses that could provide attentive selves with information to help them navigate the choice-filled seas of modern life, newer technologies are designed to serve as sentinels that can stand watch for distracted and overwhelmed selves, providing just-in-time micronudges to keep them on track.

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