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SXSW Interactive 2013

I am Superman

Life’s made of data; the right equipment can track everything to build a rich picture of me. But, life consists of millions of tiny decisions made subconsciously; intuitive evidence-based decisions made at hyper speed. This makes us human; the fact we don’t understand how we do it makes me wonder if we’re ready to rely on machines. No array of sensors, however clever, can equal us.
This creates an unprecedented design challenge in having jurisdiction over what’s measured and how it’s interpreted. The answer is to focus on what makes us human and allowing those things to shine through the interactions, services & systems we build with Big Data.Design’s role is to translate between the abstract and the human, to make connections between humans and the things we need, want & love. Sometimes that means exposing the mechanics, sometimes that means hiding complexity. The trick is to let this rich data be a means to making better decisions and leading better lives; making me Super-me.

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  1. What does it mean to ‘own’ our quantified selves? How can we put ourselves on a path to a positive and enriching relationship with our data as we start to track, monitor and interpret the way we live, breathe and connect in ways we’ve never previously believed possible?
  2. How do we balance the need for visibility/privacy and control over our data with the complexity of calibrating and adjusting all the possible points we could track and measure?
  3. What are the philosophical challenges presented by the quantified self in terms of decision-making? How can we keep our uniquely human capacities and qualities at the heart of a world that’s becoming increasingly data-centric and algorithmically managed?
  4. What role can designers play in bridging the gap between the data and human worlds, taking us on a journey that makes us comfortable in our own data-centric skins, and helps us make the most of the opportunities the augmented life presents?
  5. Where are the big opportunities for positive change? The value all this data and insight will bring to society as a whole and how it can help us overcome some of the most monumental challenges we face as a human race today.



Kimberley de Souza, Account Executive, Brands2Life

Meta Information:

  • Tags: future
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Design and Development
  • Level: Beginning
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