Categories
Technology

World Health solved (it is still noon)

Nope. Not yet. I will not buy a smartwatch. Not smart enough. Sure, if you like wearing a watch anyway, there are plenty choices that also measure things. It’s not that I am waiting for more sensors. Even with what is available today on a $30 smart band we should be getting more useful information.

My phone knows how much ground I am covering when walking my kids to school. The watch knows my heart rate. So why isn’t it telling me if I am getting more or less fit? My phone knows how much screen time I am getting late at night. My watch knows how well I slept. So why isn’t it telling me exactly what to change in my schedule? Hey Google, should I watch a movie or mess about on Facebook right now?

These examples are simply scratching the surface. As I fire up Google Docs and start writing, it could even give me ideas like “go drink something, you are struggling to get a decent sentence” or “I see you can’t find a catchy title. Maybe tomorrow you go for a walk first, statistically, you come up with titles much faster on days that you walked in the morning before.”

The only rational reason a company like Google isn’t doing this is so that we don’t freak out. It is far from inconceivable that the company knows when we go to the toilet and how long we spend there. Without demanding any user input (that’s how I like it best) we could be getting very very useful advice on diet and lifestyle that really make a massive difference. Our phone knows which doctors we visit and when anyway. Our Google searches, the apps we use, the speed with which we click or even how often we idly play with our phone’s screen unlock, all these data points, when connected, surely give a powerful insight into our health, mood and potential at any point in time. Over time and with millions of people on this platform, it is safe to assume major new roads of inquiry would open in terms of global health.

The more you think about it like that, it is ludicrous that doctors aren’t demanding this data in order to make better decisions.

Categories
Technology

A new Facebook feature: The “I told you so!” button

Facebook is, essentially, a Content Management System.  (CMS)  Only it is a really, really, extraordinarily bad content management system.   Its search function is rudimentary to say the least.  There is little categorization and even less user generated categorization.  It is almost impossible to find something from the past.

To large degree this is because Facebook’s engineers are obsessed with making the interface impossible to automate.   Any script you might like to have such as “accept all” (friend requests) or “delete all” (messages)  is reverse engineered so as not to work.   It stops people like me from making so many false accounts and conducting experiments to some degree.   Which means the user has to jump through all sorts of unnatural hoops to get anything done.   “Who cares?   Isn’t Facebook just for wasting time and socializing?”  Well, yes, but even when socializing, some of us like to maintain a higher level of discussion.

Case in point.  Surprise, surprise, Lance Armstrong was doped.   Where are those discussion I had about this topic a couple of years back?   Who was that friend that insisted I was being extreme?   Whether I am simply a pedantic friend, or someone actually looking for an old joke in my status updates, this is a practically impossible task right now.   I would have to scroll down my wall for a very very long time and then use my browser’s “search” capabilities.   Depending on the kind of search this would be either difficult or impossible.  Multifactorial searches out of the question.   I can’t ask Facebook things like “probably a year ago, a female friend of a friend commented on something I wrote about homeopathy.  What was the name of the substance she recommended?”

It may seem petty or minor to you.   Some psychological deficiency of mine personally maybe that makes me want to make these things clear all the time.   Or a hypersensitivity to long term trends which I am always searching for.   I studied theory of knowledge at university and tend to make an extra effort to calculate long term odds for anything I see.  Cycling is of course “one of those sports” which is more susceptible to doping.   If you don’t see the point of such functionality, you were probably not around when Zuckerberg announced he wants us all to use Facebook as our digital life store.  Well Mark, do you mind if I organize mine a bit better than you?   It does seem that your main concern is making money and mine would be finding my stuff.