Can Quantifying Our Lives Make Us Healthier?
A host of new consumer electronics allows people to monitor fluctuations in their health like never before, but does knowing more about your health help you change your behavior?
What's the Latest Development?
A number of consumer-friendly medical devices and digital apps have allowed individuals to monitor their health in a way that only doctors with pricey hardware could do before. Heat- and motion-sensing armbands can gauge energy expenditure, an activity tracker clipped to your waistband records movement, a blood-pressure cuff connected to an iPad will squeeze your arm, and a brainwave-sensing headband can monitor your sleep. But simply recording your health data will not make you healthier, so can knowing more about yourself inspire you to eat right and exercise?
What's the Big Idea?
Unfortunately, closely monitoring fluctuations in your physical health inspires only a minority to change their behavior. "Joseph Kvedar, head of the Center for Connected Health at Harvard, is a proponent of health trackers. But he has found that only a small portion of the population, around 10 percent, will change their behavior based on tracker information alone. That 10 percent is composed of people inherently interested in data, like fitness buffs and 'quantified selfers,' the newly recognized class of nerdy people who revel in using technology to track their daily lives. Everyone else needs an additional motivator, he says, like coaching, social networking, games, or rewards."
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
Eight-dimensional octonions may hold the clues to solve fundamental mysteries.
- Physicists discover complex numbers called octonions that work in 8 dimensions.
- The numbers have been found linked to fundamental forces of reality.
- Understanding octonions can lead to a new model of physics.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.