Yesterday I added Now to my website. It’s not much yet, but I have a bunch of plans for it. The idea is that it becomes something like a status page for me as a person. It currently lists a public version of my global to do list, links to project pages of things I’m currently working on and displays the percentage of my life currently elapsed, based on localized life expectancy statistics. It also links to my current config, which is a continuation of the system.n project I started a little over a year ago. I’m… well. I’m trying to turn myself into a cyborg through language. If that makes sense. This is a weird, I guess poetic? step in that direction. Another component of this is my time tracker which predicts if I’ll be on time for whatever thing I need to be at next. (The answer is currently “no” with around 70 percent accuracy.)
The idea of becoming a cyborg, at least the way I see it, is all about expanding your concept of self through technology. And for a large part, that has to be done through changing how you talk about yourself. I think that’s why for me it goes hand in hand with quantifying myself — but in a way that I personally set the terms for. Instead of hooking myself up to a fitness tracker and getting accurate but pointless stats about my body, I try to somehow translate parts of my identity into data.
When it comes to this concept of a quantified self, I think data points that are manually created are much more interesting than most things you could get with automated data collection or sensors. It’s mostly because for me the bits of technology that become extensions of our consciousness are the good bits, the ones where interesting stuff happens. Measuring something like, for instance, my heart rate doesn’t really give me a lot of new information. It’s accurate, yes. You can put it on a graph. But my body already has built-in mechanisms to tell me that I have an elevated heart rate. Seeing that translated to a number doesn’t really expand my sense of self.
Publicly planning all of my projects in detail, however, adds a bunch of social components to what otherwise would be a very private task. Working on stuff becomes a networked activity. That changes how I see myself; where I put the boundary between private and public when it comes to my aspirations, fascinations and self-discipline. It’s making private things public in a way that’s not opening up to someone, but permanently exposing some parts of my life and adding a networked component to them. I did a similar thing earlier by selling all my personal data of 2017 and I want to do more experiments like this.
Oh well. Enough rambling. This post is mostly an excuse so I can try out another new thing I’m doing now: writing some longer form notes about projects I’m working on. On the website you’re currently looking at. I kind of like it. Although, next time, the writing will be higher quality. I promise.