Discovering the Value of Family Data Science

Digital innovations have given rise to the Quantified Self —a movement enabling individuals to capitalize on the insight-generating power of self-tracking.  People self-track to gain deeper insights regarding their mind, body and other aspects of their well-being.   These insights can help people make better day-to-day decisions regarding their performance, health,  and happiness.  For example, allowing a patient to preempt a doctor’s visit, or transforming a necessary visit into an informative data driven discussion [1].  Others do it to collect data required to train personal well-being algorithms that will soon integrate with their smart home assistants.

As a husband and father, I wondered how this could benefit my family too. Could self-tracking help us become more conscientious in our day-to-day?  Could it help improve our well-being? Three year ago, I started tracking various aspects of my family’s growth, health and happiness through a practice I refer to as Family Data Science. I wasn’t interested in tracking minute-by-minute calories, moods, or steps. Instead, I wanted a daily record of exceptional events that be analyzed across time and other dimensions.

My experience is proving valuable in three ways. First, the data allows us to recall events over longer periods and greater detail than our memory alone. Second, the act of self-tracking introduces a moment of pause and reflection in the busyness of every day, and this helps boost conscientiousness. Third, applying machine learning to this data enables unique integration opportunities with today’s growing demand for smart home assistants.

Conventional wisdom teaches us that saving for retirement by maximizing investment account contributions at a young age is a sound strategy for individuals and their future generations. Doing so allows interests to compound daily while also minimizing tax liability. In this era of digital innovations, Family Data Science is offering similar benefits in the area of health and well-being. Starting early allows families to make better decision through all stages of their life, and this leads to better outcomes. The value of data compounds over time as well, providing a larger body of evidence to enable deeper and more accurate discovery of insights.

[1] Topol E. (2015). The Patient Will See You Now: The future of Medicine is in Your Hands, Basic Books

Author: Sergio

Since 2013, I have been experimenting with family data science – or the process of drawing deeper understanding and insights to help my wife and daughters grow, stay healthy and be happy. I am just a curious dad who is convinced that a little 21st century IT along with a stream of the right data and analytics can help reinstate a healthy dose of household conscientiousness in between the joy, pressures and chaos of everyday family life.

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