Google Glass started it all, and now the viral spread of the Quantified Self meme is showing us the good, the bad and the ugly on the screens of our high tech bracelets and necklaces. With the demand for wearable technology far outstripping supply, there’s no denying it; no one likes average – everyone wants to be awesome. And how do you become an A-list version of yourself? You self-improve… or you try to, at least.
Self-help books are rotting away on the shelf, because wearable tech is radically changing the game of self-improvement. People can now see and hear the cold, hard evidence; how often they put their hands in the cookie jar, how regularly they use sarcastic tones and how many hours they spend binge-watching on Netflix.
Renowned sociologist, Leo Wu, is not surprised that life loggers are wanting to address their ‘weaknesses’. “Sometimes you only fully see your own reality when you can observe it as a spectator from the outside, and this is exactly what life logging allows people to do,” Wu told TIME magazine.
In affluent areas, where the gospel of self-tracking has taken off, we already see a gradual decline in the sale of sugary treats and junk food. The Twittersphere has been abuzz with complaints of over-full yoga classes. And by the way, if you’re looking to see a sleep expert, the waiting lists are a drag.
However, the striving for perfection that accompanies the ‘life-as-an-optimizable-project’ phenomenon is leaving some people worse off than before. The biggest psychiatric clinic in the world, Harrison Memorial Hospital, has already had to admit many individuals whose life logging has led to anorexia, Narcissism and obsessive compulsive disorder.
It seems like Socrates had it wrong: It’s not the unexamined life that’s not worth living, it’s the over-examined one.