Quant Humanists W1 HW: Reflection

JENNA XU
QUANT HUMANISTS
SPRING 2018
29 JAN 2018

Write a short reflection about what your current relationship with self-tracking (e.g. hopes, dreams, perceptions), questions you have about self-tracking and how it could help or harm you, and how you hope the course will help facilitate your interests. Write about which questions you’ve identified to track, how you plan to track those variables of interest, and what challenges you expect to encounter as well as what you hope to learn.

Out of lack of self-discipline, I don’t currently have a relationship with self-tracking, but at ITP I ultimately hope to track the biometrics of depression and its related factors, and feed this data into a neural network that can predict my moods and help monitor the cycles of depression. I hope this course will allow me to explore my options for tracking these variables and perhaps even integrate them into an automated system of my own making. Below is my wish-list of questions/methods that I want to work on for this course:

  1. What is your current mood? (based on metrics)
      • https://arxiv.org/pdf/1711.06134.pdf
        This study uses a smartphone app to calculate happiness based on psychology’s “traditional view of happiness as a parameter of two dimensions: arousal and valence”. Arousal is measured based on data coming in from a smartwatch, which tracks activity, heart rate, light level, and GPS coordinates. They also consider external factors such as weather and day of the week. By asking for self-reported mood data, they were able to input this data into a machine learning-based system (random forests) to predict mood.
      • https://tech.cornell.edu/news/this-smartphone-keyboard-app-can-read-your-emotions
        This project tracks variables like typing speed, punctuation changes, and sentiment analysis of what’s being typed to detect the user’s emotions.

  2. What makes you happy? (based on self-reporting)
    • https://www.trackyourhappiness.org/
      This is an ongoing doctoral research project by Matt Killingsworth at Harvard, which prompts you throughout the day to find out what factors are associated with happiness.
  3. Is your mind wandering?
  4. Do you feel lonely?

My main challenge will be to actually implement any of this! Most of these apps are from academic studies and not available to the masses, and the ones that are are only for iOS.

2 thoughts on “Quant Humanists W1 HW: Reflection

  1. What a thoughtful collection of emotional trackers! I like the mix between academic approaches and consumer applications.

  2. […] I had done a lot of prior research, there were specific metrics that I had in mind, but oftentimes appropriate apps were either only available for iOS, didn’t provide an API, didn’t track with enough […]

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