March 16, 2013
From: Interview by Quantified Self: A Q&A with Stephen Wolfram
In your estimation, how much of your personal analytics data is passively collected/recorded versus actively collected/recorded?
It’s essentially all passive. I’ve had systems set up at different times, then I’ve just let the systems run. And after a decade or two they’ve accumulated a lot of data.
I should say that quite a few of the systems are set up to send me mail each day with a report on the previous day (how much I typed; how many steps I took; etc.). I find this a useful form of self-awareness and self-management. But it has the side effect that it checks that the systems are still running. Systems that aren’t checked “on” have a nasty habit of decaying and failing.
About active data collection: I’m frankly too busy (and perhaps too lazy) for that. Last year I decided to record everything I ate. I kept it up for the whole year, but it was a pain. I decided I’d wait for that data until it could be more automated (which it will be soon).