The apple watch is upon us and as it stumbles into early majority adoption it is poised to make its greatest impact on our social lives. Not only because it makes our smartphones more accessible, more prevalent, and more persistent. But more so because of its sensors.
Apple markets the watch’s litany of sensors as part of a health and wellness analytics offering. The more accurate an idea you have of your heartbeat and a couple dozen other metrics, the better you can understand your health. Or it’s just cool to see the stats.
But at scale it’s easier to see what these personal sensors provides Apple. It offers a much more specific idea of how we react to the events and notifications on our devices.
For example, you get a text from someone you love and your heartbeat jumps just a bit. Likely the way in which it jumps and for how long it remains aroused, can tell Apple and the software companies that operate within its ecosystem, what your mood is and when. Termed Human Data Interaction, this is extraordinarily valuable information in an age of increasingly personalized marketing campaigns, and sophisticated ad-tech.
In the grand scheme of things these sensors are relatively basic, but they are just the start. Consider when the time comes, because it will, that our personal devices are more fully integrated into eyewear. Something like Google Glass that hits all the numbers.
When we cross the intelligent eyewear mass adoption threshold, all of a sudden a whole new world of data will become available. Like something straight out of Ex Machina, large companies will have an extraordinary amount of data on the subtle ways that our facial expressions betray our feelings, data on how people react to what we say and the way that we act.
Long-term analytics will also be able to tell us how exactly we can normalize our behavior. Say, you always act defensively when people ask you about your job. Well your glasses will soon be able to use data curated from hundreds of instances to tell you to stop doing that, because… it’s annoying.
This is already being done on a rudimentary level with web-analytics. Marketers look to see what digital social interactions perform best, and alter them accordingly in the pursuit of brand-recognition perfection.
Already this century is one of increased social status awareness with Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and all of the other FOMO-inducing social platforms. We have never had this kind of insight into the precise level of our social position, and while it might serve to make some of us more self-aware, it seems to push most of us to the point of painful self-consciousness. From pain comes desire and where there is desire there is money to be made.
With wearables the subtle will be recorded, analyzed, and reproduced. The power, and opportunity inherent in this information for marketing initiatives is unfathomable. To know precisely what someone needs to work on to better their personality, and in turn their lives, is to have the very core of their precise desires in the palm of your hand. Then you have to wonder what it is exactly you have strapped to your wrist.