Wednesday, May 05, 2010


This New York Times Magazine article "The Data-Driven Life" was pretty interesting. An excerpt (not particularly well-chosen):

For a long time, only one area of human activity appeared to be immune [to numbers]. In the cozy confines of personal life, we rarely used the power of numbers. The techniques of analysis that had proved so effective were left behind at the office at the end of the day and picked up again the next morning. The imposition, on oneself or one’s family, of a regime of objective record keeping seemed ridiculous. A journal was respectable. A spreadsheet was creepy.

And yet, almost imperceptibly, numbers are infiltrating the last redoubts of the personal. Sleep, exercise, sex, food, mood, location, alertness, productivity, even spiritual well-being are being tracked and measured, shared and displayed. On MedHelp, one of the largest Internet forums for health information, more than 30,000 new personal tracking projects are started by users every month. Foursquare, a geo-tracking application with about one million users, keeps a running tally of how many times players “check in” at every locale, automatically building a detailed diary of movements and habits; many users publish these data widely. Nintendo’s Wii Fit, a device that allows players to stand on a platform, play physical games, measure their body weight and compare their stats, has sold more than 28 million units.

This sort of thing appeals to me but I won't usually keep up with it if it's not very easy.

1 comment:

Sally said...

I read the article expecting to have something to say about it, but somehow, I don't. I read an article in Wired about Nike+ about a year ago, maybe it was the same author.