Apps That Call for Backup Before You Even Know You Need It
We may be able to harness our own "data exhaust" to do great things.
The onset of depression is brutal for anyone, but for diabetics—who frequently suffer from depression—it can lead to missed medications with potentially life-changing, and even lethal, repercussions. And whenever depression descends on anyone, it can be impossible to get help in time.
But consider this. With our various electronic devices, we each leave a large digital wake behind. Phones, for example, contain built-in GPS and health-monitoring sensors that produce a constant stream of data about what we do and where we are.
Rick Smolan says that while we figure how to address the downsides of all this data—primarily the loss of privacy and identity theft—we should also start considering the new possibilities it presents.
What if an app on a phone that already tracks its owner’s habits could predict the imminent onset of depression and summon help automatically, and before it’s too late?
The company Smolan cites as an example in this 2014 video, Ginger IO, is still going strong, and has an impressive array of testimonials from customers who've harnessed the never-ending stream of data generated by their devices’ ever-watchful hardware.
- Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
- But increased longevity is a cause for celebration, says Ashton Applewhite, not doom and gloom.
Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.
- The research raises many ethical questions and puts to the test our current understanding of death.
What's dead may never die, it seems
The researchers did not hail from House Greyjoy — "What is dead may never die" — but came largely from the Yale School of Medicine. They connected 32 pig brains to a system called BrainEx. BrainEx is an artificial perfusion system — that is, a system that takes over the functions normally regulated by the organ. Think a dialysis machine for the mind. The pigs had been killed four hours earlier at a U.S. Department of Agriculture slaughterhouse; their brains completely removed from the skulls.
An ethical gray matter
The dilemma is unprecedented.
Setting new boundaries
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