Our Automated Future

Why Stephen Wolfram Thinks Data Tracking Can Free our Minds

April 26, 2015

© Chad Hagen, used by permission

When Stephen Wolfram was 17, he dropped out of college. By the time he was 21, he had a Ph.D. in physics and was one of the first recipients of a MacArthur Genius Award. Today, he is the CEO of Wolfram Research and developer of programs such as Mathematica and web tools like Wolfram Alpha. But besides the more well-known projects, he has also amassed one of the largest individual datasets in the world: millions of points of data covering the last 20+ years of his life. He talked to Steve Paulson about what it means, and how automation can change our future.



I find that people who try to track all of these habits of their life are a perfect example of 'analysis to paralysis'. It seems like spending more time out of our lives tracking email, steps, calories, etc. is just more time spent on our asses with our faces in front of a screen. How many years of life our wasted on self analysis? I just wasted five minutes writing this that could have been spent elsewhere!