Life expectancy calculator

Karina Hyland Hernandez

Self-tracking is not done for nothing; it’s to live better. And honestly, longer.


As a response to the rapidly growing Quantified Self movement and the obsession to defy death by keeping track of everything, this project’s purpose is to question to what extent do we rely on these methods. Why do people usually fail to maintain a tracking habit? How many aspects do you need to track continuously to gather a reliable conclusion?
The life expectancy calculator is a questionnaire that will determine how many years you have left to live. Instead of calculating this number with a common method (health, genetics, age, etc.) I am proposing that your life expectancy depends strictly on the amount of things you track about yourself. In other words, how many things you do to improve some aspect of your life by using a digital tracking device.
In an ironic language, the calculator asks you a variety of questions about any self-tracking practice that you may have done during the past month. The scale is defined by 9 ranges of life expectancy portrayed by a fictional character. These characters are inspired by the characters in the animated series “Sponge Bob”. They include two easy recognizable characters that represent the extreme ranges. The first one is represented by a version of Squidward looking extremely beautiful. As a metaphor of “live fast, die pretty”. On the other hand, a fish jerky on a wheelchair barely living is the highest score in the scale. The rest of the characters represent the different ranges based on the life span of these aquatic animals.
This project proposes that even if we keep track of many things, in the end the numbers are just a reference to conclude what aspects we could change about us. The one who really knows how to be happier, is ourselves.


Quantified Humanists: Designing Personal Data