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Mohanty, Abhishek (2021) 'Opinion Piece: Are Big Data Judgements About Health Or Personality More Accurate Than Those Made By Humans? An Anthropological Critique In Relation To The Quantified Self Movement.' The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research, 13 (2019/2020). pp. 206-215.

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The paper presents a critical anthropological gaze at the difference in accuracy between human and big data judgements on health or personality, where the latter are engendered by wearables and self-trackers. Referencing journalistic and ethnographic literature, particularly on the Quantified Self movement, it argues for a resituating of this debate in the negotiations of big data by users in the everyday. The calibrations of health and personality are lived and phenomenologically experienced, and therefore continuously constructed by as also constructing the self in the cultural. At the same time, the paper cautions that an overt focus on individual interpretation and therefore individual agency distracts at once from big data’s social and political considerations, the temporality of the question of its accuracy, as well as the separate valence it commands depending upon the level of abstraction or aggregation of the judgement. The debate then warrants a repositioning as not between human or computer-based judgments, but between the potentialities of becoming-human of big-data and becoming-big data of the user.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Doctoral School
SOAS Open Access Journals > The SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research
ISSN: 25176226
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2021 09:55

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