APIs Essential for Quantified Self’s Core Purpose

Eric Carter, August 21st, 2012

Quantified Self, “a collaboration of users and tool makers who share an interest in self knowledge through self-tracking,” requires tapping into massive amounts of data for its very existence. Members meet in an online community, and in person through small groups and a larger conference. The goal of any meeting is to learn, develop, and refine methods for collecting personal data in hopes to generate an effective response to the data. At Quantified Self forums around the world, “[i]ndividuals tell their stores of using data to better understand who they are and how they interact with the world around them.” says Singly.

Today, people are connected to more and more devices and creating more and more data. Accordingly, APIs not only simplify data retrieval for QSers (as Quantified Self members refer to themselves), APIs are required to make sense of the data ingressing and egressing from individuals. Quantified Self member, Ernesto Ramirez, stressed: “The devices and services used to collect data have already determined how they want to present that data to you – and it’s often great, but rarely entirely comprehensive.” APIs allow users “to be able to get in and play with [their] data.”

APIs first gained popularity in the technology industry. Now, from automobiles to finance, it seems that all industries are utilizing APIs to offer new value and deeper insight. For most, APIs are becoming more and more important, but for “Quantified Selfers, the most important thing [they] can do is stress the importance of APIs and data freedom.”

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