“Numbers make problems less resonant emotionally but more tractable intellectually. In science, in business and in the more reasonable sectors of government, numbers have won fair and square.
For a long time, only one area of human activity appeared to be immune. 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 oneâ€™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.”
Gary Wolf reflects in the upcoming New York Times Magazine on what happens when technology can analyze “every quotidian thing that happened to you today.”