You may have heard of the Jawbone, Fitbit, Nike Fuelband or one of the myriad of other wearable self-tracking gadgets. Heck, you might even be wearing one right now! These gadgets help track everything from hours slept, calories consumed, to number of steps taken in a given day. But can they actually make you healthy? Sure they provide us with tons of data about our bodies, but what do we DO with all that information? Is it just about the knowing? Or does this actually motivate us to change and enhance our behavior? And if it does, can that be a bad thing?
Mike Rugnetta of PBS Idea Channel often explores the trickier questions of our modern age; in this video, he questions whether health monitoring and activity tracking gadgets actually improve your health.
Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.
Does technology have all the answers?
This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.
Creating technological solutions transparently
This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.
Technology as the connecting tool
Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.
“Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.