I’m feeling really beat this week. I suppose I could blame this on all sorts of things like diet, exercise, or stress, but instead of my blithering on about mundane cause and effect, let’s look at the exciting world of unscientific data gathering.
I have completed a week of iphone ownership and its impact on my life is fairly significant. Most notably, it has tightened the chains that bind me to personal interaction. Instant e-mail notification and text messaging provide a feeling of full immersion that I suspect will be irresistibly addicting. There’s no going back. Smart phones are a one way street.
Additionally, my daily conversations have better citations. I can quickly find and share sources with my conversation partners. On one hand, I think this will yield less hyperboles (probably a good thing), on the other hand I wonder if it will reduce my mental capacity to store information (why remember details, if I can just bring up the original).
Finally, and most significant for this particular blog post: the tools that are now available for data gathering are more sophisticated and more readily available.
Enter Sleep Cycle.
Sleep Cycle is an iphone app that monitors your sleep. You place your iphone on your bed at night. It monitors the movement of the mattress and makes assumptions about your tossing and your turning. And just like that, BAM. It charts your sleep cycles.
How accurate is Sleep Cycle? I’m not sure. I do know that on my first night of using it, I woke up at 4:30am. The following morning, my nightly graph showed that a 4:30am wake up. Not too shabby Sleep Cycle!
Here are my last four nights of sleep:
Over the past 9 nights I’ve averaged 7 hours and 17 minutes of sleep.
My last four nights of sleep have had the following duration:
Th 7h55m, W 6h54m, Ts 8h05m, and M 6h55m
Why is this interesting?
Well, independently it’s not. But I guess I never really appreciated the heaps and heaps of casual data that will be generated as we incorporate smart devices more closely into our lives. With these new data, we’ve got a huge opportunity to improve the effectiveness of… well, everything. Of course, there are a wealth of challenges that must first be addressed (privacy and biases as two), but the potential is really exciting.
Here’s to hoping for a more efficient future, powered by ~data!