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Re: [quantifiedself-toronto] computational quantified self

From: Michael N.
Sent on: Monday, March 19, 2012 2:40 PM

Following up on Eric's comment, a physicist friend of mine did an 
interesting experiment along the lines of the computational quantified 
self.  He and some collaborators were using version control software to 
write up a paper.  He wrote some scripts to auto-generate daily graphs of 
the number of lines of writing committed by each participant, and email it 
to all participants.

Looking at the graphs was fun --- who was contributing became very 

Two students in the collaboration got very competitive, racing one another 
on lines committed.  But my favorite thing was a senior physicist in the 
collaboration, who didn't contribute anything to the paper --- his graph 
was a flat line --- until one day he actually bother to look at the graph. 
He then spent the next 48 hours working furiously on the paper, getting 
his line count up into respectable territory.

There's loads of ways this idea could be misused, of course, but for that 
collaboration it worked pretty well at keeping people honest with 


On Fri, 16 Mar 2012, Eric Boyd wrote:

> http://quantified...­
> I'm super interested in this idea of computational quantified self, having 
> systems that automatically gather and analyze data about us, which we can 
> then use to help make better (or different) decisions.  Even just what 
> Wolfram has now - a bunch of systems that email him at the end of each day 
> with productivity-associa­ted numbers, is super cool.  I bet I'd get more done 
> if I knew that at the end of each day I'd be getting an email about how much 
> I did...

> Eric
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