Some people never set sail because they are convinced they have already arrived. This is true in both the big and the small things in our lives. I was reminded of this fact after reading this fascinating article in the New York Times magazine, The Data Driven Life.

The story is chalkful of examples of how people are using data to change small personal habits—everything from reducing the amount of caffeinated coffee they drink to improving their infant child’s language skills—but I especially liked this line: data “includes answers to questions [we] have not yet thought to ask.”

From a larger perspective, the article highlights the growing importance of data-mining algorithms and technology. If the past was about finding the answers, the future is more about finding the answers to those “questions we have not yet thought to ask.”