Immutable Computing and the Quantified Self

writing phil computing

published 2022-04-09 21:16

updated 2022-04-09 21:16

I have a dream where the computer entirely automates my interface with large organizations. My emails are tagged automatically and stored in certain folders (perhaps too fine grained). my finances are calculated from downloads of my statement. I'm thinking it might be a poor goal.

Lately I've been questioning "What are computers for?" and the most obvious answer to that is big industrial things. Banks, Governments & Military, Businesses like Logistics, Manufacturing, Research organizations. Fundamentally computers are about managing information, and large organizations have the most need to organize information. Because we live in the physical world with these entities out of this falls the requirement of the self to interact with these entities: email, address, identity, purchases. Even outside of our interface to large organizations, we produce information, ond can choose how to deal with it. These activities too, can be made easier through use of a computer. Even on the personal scale, effectively all of my meaningful organization happens on a computer. Most of it is imbued within us. How to do certain tasks particular to my life. I sought to apply the findings to this personal realm of my life. I starting using task warrior to hold my todos, having grown tired of losing one too many notepads with scribbles everywhere. I started writing plaintext notes, that I could keep with me, and carry as I went forward. I host my own calendar, bookmarks, articles to read, and maintain my own RSS list of webpages I'm interested in getting content from. I now attribute all this requirement of organization that I found necessary to function, as part of my ADHD. It was for political reasons I chose free & open source software, and it is my stubbornness that keeps me there (or, more charitably phrased, a conviction in my beliefs).

Soverign and quantified, such that it is my own and still understood by me. Now I am beginning to try and automate the sharing of these sources of knowledge, the outcome of the process of information organization.

My underlying goal seems to be the total archival of human knowledge, but since I am but one person, a total archival of this human's knowledge.

Computers are very good at that. At least in the short term. They tend not to forget things as long as the hardware doesn't fail. They listen to exactly what you tell them. Of course, this only matters if you can trust the software to do what you want it to, and have access to the data in a format you can parse. Luckily for me, my conviction of beliefs leads to using software that has these properties; a virtuous cycle.

Computers are also very bad at this at any sort of archival timescale. It's why I'm interested in Immutable Computing. If I'm creating an archive of my own personal process, i need to be able to recreate it easily. I've glam'd my computer too many times to want to do it again.

Invincible Computing