We’re entering a great age of measurement. I haven’t heard about this anywhere so caveat emptor.
Regardless, what I have heard a lot about is Big Data. We hear about lots of data-more data than we know what to do with and that is forcing us to rethink the type of data we keep, where we keep it and what we do with it.
Wearables, and implantables that are currently in the trough of disillusionment on the hype curve are the most interesting component of Big Data. You thought ‘Big Data’ was big-wait until we have all kinds of medical and personal wearables, implantables and other feedback devices tied to the myriad of physical responses the body makes to it’s environment. We’re going to have some fun then.
Apples’s newest headphones-look ma no wires-give us some clue to as to the position of wearables in the future. Accessing the apparent limitless store of data in our phones will, in the future, be as simple as pondering a question-now we have to ponder it out loud but in the future it doesn’t take too much of a leap to consider that this type of interaction with our phones will be silent. We’ll just think a thought and all of that thought thinking will turn into electrical stimulation and that electrical stimulation will be interpreted by the phone and it will respond appropriately.
In addition these wearables that are now currently somewhat out of favor will begin to be available to average joes like you and me for all kinds of uses. Historically we’ve tracked steps-did you walk 10fk steps? Did you go up or down the right amount of stairs--yawn. It’s measurement but nothing remarkable by today’s standards.
But soon-and not too very far off-we’re going to be able to have realtime feedback on some more stuff that really matters-calories ingested and burned, o2 and respirations, heart rate, hormone manufacture and release all a result of wearables and implantables. Soon we’ll have the tools to measure things, glean insights, and use that in problem resolution in ways that in past we’ve only dreamed of. The best example I can give you is from this blog. One of the reasons Freud’s theories have remained theories is that proving up or measuring things like the death drive and the drive to life have been so difficult to do. Measuring neuronal response to in vivo stimuli (stuff that happens in the body in real time) has never been an option. If it were Freud would have used it as would subsequent investigators and now we might be having a different discussion about things like apoptosis (cell death), how to regulate it, and how it is related to behavior. As it is these things are on the horizon-hence the age of measurement.
Freud’s difficult to decipher theories won’t be the only thing we’ll measure. Average Joes will be able to measure their caloric intake and o2, investigators will be able to fly hundrends of drones into a weather system and measure the individual forces to find out what’s really happening. Emotions can be inferred from internal and external behavior and fed back to an individual who can then take that information and piece it together with their experience.
The creative uses of wearable and implantable technology coupled with the ubiquity of cloud computing and good old ingenuity & curiosity will lead to a tremendous amount of understanding in our world.
In so many ways our understanding of the world has hinged on our ability to measure all kinds of aspects of it in the past and now we’re entering an age where average people will be faced with measurement tasks that they have heretofore not concerned themselves with. But that’s where all of the new dogs will thrive.
Big Data, now largely about B2B and B2C predictive analytics that help those in power make the best decisions possible is growing into the era of Big Measurement. A time when we can all measure the things that are important to us and get the kind of idiosyncratic answers that will spark tremendous amounts of deep, meaningful learning.