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Learning Center Experience
By Dr. Ginger CameronHealth 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
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.
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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And if you are considering pursuing a health sciences degree, we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University's School of Health Sciences and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
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