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  • HS - Internet of Me

    By Dr. Ginger Cameron
    Health Sciences Faculty Member

    I first heard the phrase, “Internet of Me” about a year ago and I honestly thought it was something the iY generation had come up with. Even though I did not understand what it meant, I was already experiencing its impact. 

    The Internet of Me is a movement, a trend line if you will, a direction that we are moving. There are two major components to this movement: what is happening now and what is coming.

    Currently, you may have noticed that your smart technology is starting to anticipate your interests. You see ads when on the Internet that are tailored to where you have been before. You may also have noticed that if you buy something online you will start to get more advertising for like products, more spam promoting the same thing. You may even find this frustrating because, after all, how many blenders does one person need? You may also have noticed that your apps will personalize to your preferences, your news app shows you the stories it “thinks” you will be most interested in based off of your prior preferences.

    But it doesn’t stop with the apps themselves—have you ever picked up someone else’s smartphone? Even if you have the exact same model and brand, they are completely different, personalized to the owner’s preference. Now, we even have wearable technology. Trackers that monitor our heart rate, count our steps, remind us to drink water, stand up, and even exercise. GPS trackers are in our watches, phones, and cars. We can touch a screen and find out where our friends are or who is near us.

    The Internet is no longer confined to a computer monitor in our homes or even the tablets we have grown dependent on. It has moved beyond the confines of our homes and book bags and moved onto our bodies. Now we have baby bottles that monitor food intake, apps that monitor our sleep, sensors to let you know if your golf swing is off, and shoes that change colors and design with the touch of a button. Once our everyday devices become “smart” they interact with us and with each other. Then, the Internet will have no bounds.

    Smart technology can save lives—it can track, in real time, what is happening in your body and environment and feed that information back to the people or devices who need to know. For instance, certain technologies will be able to tell a diabetic that their sugar is low and recommend the right snack, or can detect a fever or infection and recommend the proper medication. But recommending the right medicine stops short of the ultimate goal, truly smart technology could one day notify your medicine bottle that you have a fever. It would give the bottle your age and/or weight as well as any medication sensitivities so that the proper dosing could occur. In truly smart technology the bottle could alert you that the medicine was ready and then call or text you if you don’t take it.

    There is tremendous discussion regarding the direction the Internet of Me is moving. Where does all of this information that is being collected about us go? Who has access to it, who should? How can it be used to make our lives better? What happens when the human element is removed? These are questions that experts in civil rights, politicians, lawyers, and various other professionals will battle over.

    Personalization is great (who doesn’t depend on electronic reminders for important meetings and tasks), and I love not having to sift through useless information. But perhaps by doing that I shrink the circle of both my knowledge and my influence. Perhaps it is those small facts that we stumble across that can make a big impact later on. Perhaps we need to be pushed to examine ideas that disagree with our own. Maybe we need to read the news we would rather not know. Maybe we don’t really know what we need to know and just maybe an algorithm from my watch is not the best judge of what is really in my best interest.

    Ginger Cameron, PhD, is a full-time faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.

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