'Technologies of the self and other': how self-tracking technologies also shape the other

Katleen Gabriels*, Mark Coeckelbergh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose - This paper aims to fill this gap (infra, originality) by providing a conceptual framework for discussing "technologies of the self and other," by showing that, in most cases, self-tracking also involves othertracking. Design/methodology/approach - In so doing, we draw upon Foucault's "technologies of the self" and present-day literature on self-tracking technologies. We elaborate on two cases and practical domains to illustrate and discuss this mutual process: first, the quantified workplace; and second, quantification by wearables in a non-clinical and self-initiated context. Findings - The main conclusion is that these shapings are never (morally) neutral and have ethical implications, such as regarding "quantified otherness," a notion we propose to point at the risk that the other could become an object of examination and competition. Originality/value - Although there is ample literature on the quantified self, considerably less attention is given to how the relation with the other is being shaped by self-tracking technologies that allow data sharing (e.g. wearables or apps such as Strava or RunKeeper).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Computer ethics
  • Internet of Things
  • Ethics of technology
  • Quantified otherness
  • Quantified selfhood
  • Self-tracking technologies


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