Where data ends and life begins


I am currently drowning in gene expression microarray data, so I found this post by NPR/Radiolab’s Robert Krulwich incredibly poignant. So much so that it deserves a post rather than a tweet.

The gist of it is that we are in an age when we can collect endless amounts of data about ourselves, but Krulwich points out that most of it says little about the PERSON. Yes, I have consistent patterns of daily activity (physical movement, texting, email, driving), physiology (weight, blood pressure, state of eczema flare), etc etc. But it doesn’t say anything about the story of my life, of how I became who I am.

I took away two things from this piece.

1) no wonder I am having such a hard time with these data… I have to be careful to add the right context to pull out a compelling story.

2) I need to pull my head out of the data clouds more often, so J knows me by more than my daily work patterns, and remembers me by what I find funny, how I make him breakfast, that I kiss him every morning and every night.

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One Response to Where data ends and life begins

  1. zinc says:

    “Infant amnesia” is starting lift and I really do wonder what they will remember. When my son turned 2, I rented a pony for his birthday party because I really wanted him to have something “alive” to recall, not a pre-fab party kit.

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