Wednesday, June 18, 2008

What Can Be Done With

I like, there's a few things I'd improve with it, but a good system over all. I'm quite happy to have a system that will record all the songs I play through my iPod or iTunes and give me stats based on that.t

As for what I'd improve on it, I'd like it if counted the length of times I spent listening to my songs as opposed to the number of songs I played. It just skews things when you have one band you listen to with one minute thirty second songs and one band you listen to with twenty minute songs. Also, I'd like it if it would update the weekly total more frequently. That can't be that hard, just some database operation... but then I don't have the greatest experience with their system, so shouldn't really talk. Also, I'd like it if they had some graphing software built right into their system, instead of having to rely on third party apps that never get back to you.

Anyways, I want to see all the personal dating recording stuff combined with similar stuff with Amazon and eBay's recording what you buy, Facebook noting your interests and similar stuff. Has someone added something to Flock that does a like thing that records all the websites you visit? And then just wait until everyone has iPhones that record wherever you go and can correlate all that data.

Now, why do I want this? Well, in part because I have very little concern for privacy, or hiding my personal behavior. I've been told that's a bit odd. But there's also several practical benefits beyond the having a good easy to read record of your own life. There's the obvious one that and Amazon already do with the recommending things to you. I imagine things like this would be much more accurate if they could compare different aspects of your entire life.

But beyond that, there's the science. We could finally get real time data on a host of sociological, economic and polical variables that are only hinted at these days. I'm tired of public policy bieng decided with no basis on factual experimental evidence. And I know that in politics most people don't give a damn about what actually works, but I would love to see a change along those lines. If we could simply see who everyone's friend were, what they read, what they watched and what they bought, we would have so much more insight into what was actually going on in our society.

Eh, this is getting a bit radical, I should probably go back and revise this entry in the morning, but the idea remains. I know a lot of what social networks currently do is tell you things about your friends that you already know. For example, with Facebook, I don't need it telling me who everyone in the Dumbrella group at Stanford is. I already know this. They're already all my friends. I don't need Facebook's Compare People app telling me my sister is hot. I've got a roomate who tells me that most every day. It's damn annoying.

But there's so much that could be done with tying all these social networks and information gathering systems together. Just off the top of my head, you could look at the music people listen to over time, compare this with their friends, and see who has the most influence over their friend's musical tastes. You could see what social networks were spreading musical taste and so forth. Of course this brings to mind the idea that we should unify all the social networks, and define friends or social contacts with not with personally chosen friend lables, but base them upon who was emailing, IMing or calling whom. Eh, but that's for another post.

I assume the end goal is to be able to give people more insight into their own lives, to give scientists and policy makers a better insight into the world, and I suppose, in the long run, create a wufi like system.

Ah, I need to expand upon all this to not seem like a drunken rambling techno-utopian. Expect a revision in the morning.

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