Monday, May 04, 2015

An E-Collar for Humans?

The new Apple Watch may end up being little more than an e-collar for humans -- one we are lining up to buy.

The old canine "shock collar" is dead, having been replaced with the low-sensation tapping of the modern e-collar with tone, vibration, and 100 levels of stimulation so fine it can be used to teach "place" or "come" on a 7-pound dog.

Perhaps the biggest deal in the world of dogs has yet to be noticed, however:  the arrival of the Apple Watch for humans.

Sales of the Apple Watch have been phenomenal. Pre-order sales surpassed 1.2 million on Day One, as compared to 270,000 for the iPhone and 300,000 for the iPad.

Yes, the Apple Watch can tell time.  

It can also time you, remind you, and find you.  It can give you weather and send and receive text messages.  

Where it may end up being a game changer, however, is in its ability to train you to become a better person.

As CNN notes in an article entitled, 
Will your Apple Watch program YOU?:

One of the most awaited features of Apple Watch will be its "taptic" engine, a sensory feedback tool derived from gamer joystick technology that allows for personalized tapping vibrations -- a "Yo"-like blip for a work pal or an echo of your own heartbeat captured through an embedded cardio sensor.

... Taptic wrist vibes can also carry a purpose -- reminding you to pick up a carton of eggs on your way home from work, or delivering an insistent flick from a client demanding a call-back. Therein lies a brave new response in human conditioning. All of us are accustomed to electronic signals -- an alarm clock in the morning or a pop-up calendar invite on your phone. But there's something Manchurian Candidate-like about a digital prompt delivered palpably to your wrist. Sure, the watch is a transmitter, but it's the person who's being programmed. As an accessory, smart watches are perfect for new spatial positioning technology, such as Apple's iBeacon, which can triangulate a user's exact location inside a building and allow targeted messaging when deployed in, say, a supermarket.

... Wall Street Journal tech columnist Christopher Mims recently extolled the promise of iBeacon synched to your wrist device. He wrote: "Imagine walking into a grocery store with a shopping list on your watch, which knows your location so precisely that it can plot a route through the store, saving you the frustration of wandering from aisle to aisle, wondering where that one particular item is."


Imagine a wife or business partner who can tap a husband or associate to get their attention in a store or meeting.

Imagine a watch that taps you, four times a day, to remind you to knock out ten push ups while you are at your desk.

Have a bad habit you want to break? Your phone could be programmed to remind you to do the right thing -- or to warn you off the bad thing.

As I noted a few days ago, in this increasingly busy and frenetic world, we are going to be using more robots to do our chores, and we are going to need more electronic prompts to keep everything running on the rails.

The new Apple Watch recognizes this and its "tapping" modem, tracking, tagging, and prompts may end up being little more than an e-collar for humans -- one we are lining up to buy.

Who among us does not wish to be a better person?

Who among us could not benefit from better habits, and better and more consistent direction and reminders?

And if all it takes is a few dozen "Pavlov Pokes" to permanently end a self-rewarding bad habit, who among us would say no?

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jeffrey thurston said...

"Who among us does not wish to be a better person? "... ME!

Mary Pang said...

It looks like a tamagotchi.
Will you be getting one?
I've gone back to pen and paper for my reminders, it's working quite well for me.