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Presented By: Science, Technology & Society

STS Speaker. Compass to Sentinel: The Automation of Self-tracking Technology

Natasha Schüll, New York University

2015 Wearables 2015 Wearables
2015 Wearables
This 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, or 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.

Co-sponsored by Center for Ethics, Society and Computing, Communication and Media Studies, American Culture, Digital Studies Institute.

Bio: Natasha Dow Schüll is a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. She is the author of Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas (2012), an ethnographic exploration of the relationship between technology design and the experience of addiction. Her current book project, Keeping Track (forthcoming), concerns the rise of digital self-tracking technologies and the new modes of introspection and self-governance they engender. She has published numerous articles on the theme of digital media and subjectivity, and her research has been featured in such national media venues as 60 Minutes, The New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times, and The Atlantic.
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