Here is a log of all the data points I created and collected on February 20th, 2018:
With digital devices:
- Digitally scanned my fingerprint several times using the touchID on my iPhone to unlock the device
- Connected to 3 different Wi-Fi networks
- I performed several taps and scrolls using apps on my iPhone
- Plugged a USB to USB-C adapters to my Macbook 6 times
- I visited more than 100 websites, 12 of them are new websites (never visited before). This generated around 14 tabs using Chrome.
- I skipped several ads on different platforms (especially on Youtube)
- Talked on iMessage with 3 different people and exchanged around 30 messages with them
- Played around 100 songs on Spotify
- Received 21 emails and sent 9 emails
- Trash I have generated in the environment
- Executed a vast amount of social interactions with people (in the Media Lab, the restaurant…)
- Performed eye contact with another person several times
- Consumed oxygen and generated breathed out carbon dioxide
With Myself (I understand my thoughts as data points):
- Asked myself if I am happy at MIT twice
- Thought “What am I doing in this meeting?” around 6 times
It is very hard to collect and quantify all types of data we generate every day. Everything that exists can be analyzed, e.g.: Heart rate, the pressure applied to the ground with our feet…
The key questions are “What do we want to learn?” and “How can we learn that?”. Collecting data for the sake of collecting data is… somehow unethical and a waste of resources. At the same time, I understand that future technology might benefit from every single type of data collected in the past.
I logged my data on Tuesday the 21st and decided to aggregate it according to why the data was being captured. Was I logging it on purpose to collect and analyze information about myself? Was I willingly giving it to a company because I want them to do something useful with the data? Or was the data collection a by-product (from my perspective) of whatever I was really trying to do?
Data I deliberately chose to track about myself for the purpose of personal data analysis (most of which gets shared with other entities in the process):
- Heart rate, sleep, and steps were tracked via my smartwatch, which I never take off.
- Daily habits completed were recorded in a habit-tracking app (manual entry).
- Health and wellness information for the day was recorded in an app I built for women’s health tracking (manual entry).
- Time spent on work projects on Tuesday was recorded using HourStack (manual entry).
Data I chose to give to other entities in the hope that they would use it for my benefit:
- Listened to podcasts and music. NPR One app and Spotify track my listening habits and interests to make recommendations.
- Drove to work and choir practice. Car has a device that my insurance company uses to track my driving and (hopefully!) reduce my premium.
- Computer crashed. Chose to send reports to Apple to (again, hopefully) help them resolve issues.
Data other entities tracked as byproducts of my chosen activities (which were not primarily about sharing data)
- Location was tracked throughout the day by my computer and car GPS. I know I could turn this off, but haven’t even though I don’t use it.
- Campus facilities has data on when I entered my access-restricted office using my ID.
- Sent a lot of email. Google has most of this data (for multiple accounts) and Microsoft Exchange has the rest of it.
- Viewed, created, and edited a bunch of calendar events. Google has most of this data, Microsoft Exchange some of it, and iCloud has all of it (from all accounts) synced across my Apple devices.
- Viewed, created, and edited a bunch of documents in Google Drive and on my computer (local docs are all synced to Dropbox).
- Browsed the web for any number of things. Campus network, home network, Xfinity wifi hotspots, and AT&T cell network all presumably have lots of data about my web browsing and other internet usage, some of which is performed by background processes on my phone and computer that I don’t know are happening in the moment.
- I don’t know where they are, but I’m sure there were surveillance cameras at many of the locations I walked or drove through.
Below is a log of potential data points I created by interacting with the world and technology on February 19th, 2018.
Data collected/created on my devices:
- Browsed FaceBook, multiple times in the day
- Used FaceBook Messanger to send and receive messages.
- Check new email messages in the Gmail application
- Used safari to check my MIT email, opened new messages and replied to one
- Googled movie times for Black Panther at the AMC Boston Common theater
- Browsed Instagram, used the explorer feature to look at new accounts and dog pictures
- Received and opened Snapchats
- Health data – steps and floors gained
- WhatsApp – opened new group messages
- Used the Transit app to check bus times, allowed location services to know where I was
- Photos created celebrating partners birthday
- Created a new Microsoft Word doc and saved it to Dropbox
- On DropBox, uploaded two documents onto Stellar, downloaded multiple PDF’s for classes and stored them on my DropBox
- Used Spotify application to listen to a Spotify generated playlist.
- Rented a movie from iTunes with my AppleID and iTunes gift card money
- Used Asana website to create new tasks and mark some as complete
- Opened HBO Go app, watched TV Series Big Little Lies
- Opened YouTube app and watched two videos
- Water and electricity usage in apartment by me and my partner
Data collected/created in the world:
- Travel data:
- Charlie Card used on E Green Line, at Kendall red line stop, and on the 1 bus
- Captured Security camera footage from multiple trips.
- Physical receipt from lunch
- Data created in operating system of Veggie Galaxy for food ordered
- Debit card transaction for meal
- Out about town – security camera footage at Pandemonium, Bookstore, Cheap-o records, AMC Boston Commons
- Birthday memories for my partner, birthday wishes created in the world