The Power of Conversation: A Lesson from CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien
We are looking into the layers of communication beyond human vision.
There is a yin and yang with all energy and matter, movement and stillness, push and pull. When it comes to validating a product or idea there is a push and pull between what you think is right and what people actually want, so we like to go to the community first with some of our ideas. We don't want to be distracted by technologies but we KNOW we want to have them. Here are my 5 tips to curing your addiction to your smart phone as seen in Refinery 29.
Is there such a thing as soft and feminine Technologies?
This is our question that we have been posing at global conferences around the world. Recently we were in Palo Alto with this question at the Institute For The Future, in Toronto for WEST Conference, Berlin for IFA, Financial Times Conference New York and WIRED UK and we must be doing something right because we were on the cover of Retail Detail Magazine.
Thank you for being involved in our research into soft and feminine technologies. Male or female we are made up of male and female energies and hormones. We want to know when and how you want to use soft and feminine technologies?
What have we found out?
You are extremely active, not everyone has assistance, you spend a lot of time and money on your technologies and on your bodies.
Our results came from all over the world!
Most of you are not part of the "quantified self" movement nor do you have to be! You care about form and you seek relaxation and presence. 60% of you that are wearing some kind of tracker, believe it is accurately quantifying your life.
Why do we care?
Technologies have yet to use the skin as a soft and feminine interface. This is what Wearable Experiments does! We are a technology company that wants to allow technologies to interface with humans in the most unobtrusive way. Our journey began with Fundawear, an intimates product that transfers touch for long distance couples, we then took this expertise in touch and translated it to fans, connecting them to the emotional feedback of their favourite team with the Fox Alert Shirt. Over the last year we have been experimenting with the technologies that speak to the elements that make us truly human; intimacy, self awareness and entertainment. Our unique combination of software and “hard”ware has allowed us to create an interface on the body. This is not the quantified self, this is the exploration of self!
“The unexamined life is not worth living”.
The Socrates quote is one of my personal favourites. It is the mantra that led me to the quantified self (QS) movement back in 2011. I have always been impressed by self-aware people and therefore it was easy for me to relate to QS ways of thinking.
The idea of quantified self refers to the counting and assessing of all daily activity to get a better understanding of who and what you really are. The idea is to look at every aspect of your life and there is no doubt some of the things you discover will scare you. You must assess things like how much TV you watch, how much time you spend looking into a mirror or how dependent you are on your smartphone. One popular manifestation of the QS movement is to track the number of steps you have taken in a day, for instance.
It goes without saying that times are changing and I firmly believe that you simply can’t expect a long and full life without working for it.
However, in the age of QS maybe we should be examining the examiners more closely?
One of the major issues arising for QS is that 90 percent of all data visualisations on the internet are false, skewed or simply wack. As much as I love a good statistic, I now say most of them with a hint of jest. So I believe we should take a more concerted look at the stats we are being presented and what data is being measured.
Numbers are themselves only symbols of something far more complex. There are a lot of companies that only offer consumers the end data and in most cases it comes from one source. What is needed for the QS movement to be truly successful is software that sits between the data and the visualisation.
These products will change the way we look at ourselves as individuals and the world around us for the better. In order for them to take hold, however, the mass-consumer mindset needs to develop. The general public need to be made more aware of how every element of life affects human performance, whether you are a shop-keeper, a tradie or banker. We can all learn more about our own health and wellbeing and in learning more we’ll be able to lead healthier lives.
So, that brings me to the question – is ignorance bliss? I don’t think Socrates would agree and nor do I. If what you don’t know can’t hurt you, then what you do know has lots of room for interpretation. The interpretation is dangerous.
There are so many ways to gather data; so many products that claim to do different things, so how can you be sure of who to trust? How do you know the information you’re receiving is the best fit for what you’re trying to achieve?
This is where I get excited because in order for us to get a better understanding of what we’re trying to achieve and what data is being captured, we must look to wearable technology. No, think beyond the gimmicky watches or bands or anything that is solely wrist based. They have their use, absolutely. But they are not the be-all and end-all.
As the founder of and chief designer for Wearable Experiments I have to care about data more than any designer has ever cared before. I have to care about the accuracy, the safety and the meaning behind wearable technology data.
I am doing everything to look beyond what is already being quantified – heart rate, skin temperature, oxygen levels – and try to find ways of going deeper. For instance, we are yet to discover a non-intrusive way to quantify hormones. Your body is affected by these unknowns every minute of every day but the general awareness of how these affects present themselves is exciting.
I’m not saying it’s an easy task, there are some enormous variables in the equations, but it’s the kind of level I think we need to go to. One day I would also love to see the addition of emotional intelligence to this data. Going this deep will allow us to eventually democratise the data.
I don’t believe everything I read on the internet so take this with proverbial grain of salt – in the next five years more sensors and trackers will be produced than babies born…! The world is moving towards a universal acknowledgment of quantified self. From my perspective, more needs to be done in order to truly understand the data and to truly make the QS movement worthwhile.
It is that very notion which underpins my excitement for working with SMG Technologies. SMG has created an innovative and advanced product that offers a level of insight on data from multiple platforms that, in my opinion, is unrivaled globally. And I am not alone in that thought. The sports-specific product, SportsMed, for instance is used by some of the world’s best athletes and teams including Ellyse Perry, the Queensland Reds and West Ham United F.C. SMG has taken the learnings from the sports fields and created products for a whole range of industries including insurance, education and health.
So, keep your eyes peeled for the innovative companies that are leading the way in creating the next wrung of wearable technology and predictive analytics software. If your immediate thought is “why would anyone ever need that?” It’s most likely something you should take another look at!