People are the sensors

Last Friday Kevin Kelly did an interview via a Google Hangout for Fast Moving Targets. In this part of a interview with Kelly he is talking on the quantified self and a new form there where collecting blood is an indicator for the toxic in our environment. Starting from about 45:46.

This is interesting and reminded me to some things Usman Haque said that same day at the Social Cities of Tomorrow conference: the people are the sensors. He refers in that sense to the way people that process the data from the sensors are more important than the data that is sensed. And the value emerges not before the processed data is shared.

The example of Kelly goes even a bit further, but the concept is the same. You will see that when we will be collecting more and more it is not directly benefiting ourselves, but in the end we are taking the role of sensors for the community cause, for the collective intelligence in a way.

The rules of thumb for successful social software that Tom Coates made years ago, are valid for the new sensor world too. A successful connected service is only achieved when:

  • it benefits yourself (quantified self)
  • it benefits your social peers (as reference for instance)
  • it benefits the system to leverage all the collective data

Interesting stuff to elaborate on.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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