More Data

Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post:

It has been nearly three years since Smarr discovered the issue, and he’s tens of thousands of metrics down the road, but he has yet to find a way to treat it. “People overestimate what knowledge can do for you,” he said with a shrug.

Not all knowledge is created equal: knowledge can be useful, or it can be useless. Atul Gawande, The New Yorker:

All the same, she thanked me profusely for relieving her anxiety. I couldn’t help reflect on how that anxiety had been created. The medical system had done what it so often does: performed tests, unnecessarily, to reveal problems that aren’t quite problems to then be fixed, unnecessarily, at great expense and no little risk.

My body is not perfect. Your’s isn’t either. No no, I’m not talking about how we look — though that’s true too — I’m talking about our insides. The more we measure, the more detailed those measurements get, the more we will find out about our imperfections. Some imperfections need to be taken care of sooner than later, but most imperfections don’t need to be taken care of at all. Maybe Smarr — from the Post article — doesn’t need to treat it.