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Stats Communications Science

The Numbers of a Life 98

porsche911 points out a recent post by Stephen Wolfram in which he plots out data on his communication habits collected over a period of years — or in some cases, decades. He presents visualizations of the times and frequency of a third of a million emails since 1989, 100 million keystrokes since 2002, phone calls, meetings, modification times on his personal files, and even the number of footsteps he takes in a day. It provides some interesting correlations and insights into the structure of a person's life, and how that structure shifts over the years. He says, "What is the future for personal analytics? There is so much that can be done. Some of it will focus on large-scale trends, some of it on identifying specific events or anomalies, and some of it on extracting 'stories' from personal data. And in time I'm looking forward to being able to ask Wolfram|Alpha all sorts of things about my life and times—and have it immediately generate reports about them. Not only being able to act as an adjunct to my personal memory, but also to be able to do automatic computational history—explaining how and why things happened—and then making projections and predictions. As personal analytics develops, it’s going to give us a whole new dimension to experiencing our lives."
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The Numbers of a Life

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