Stockholm Syndrome as a Service

Stockholm syndrome, has any psychological phrase ever been so overused, misunderstood or quoted?  Though how many of us have been taken prisoner by the technology in our lives;  created a meaningful alliance with it? Our iPhones, smart homes and Fitbit's all beseeching for a moment of our time.

The cybernetically underserved, begging at the street corners of our mind. 

For me, Stockholm will always be home; I'm not sure when it started or why, yet for the better part of the past decade, I find myself coming back to Sweden to visit friends, places and myself. 

Stockholm is a walking city, everyone, everywhere, all the time, we walk. I enjoy the mix of jagged rocks, cityscape, and extensive coastline. 

TIME MACHINE

Stockholm is also a bit of a time machine. Even if you discount the massively long day that spring and summer afforded to you, Scandanavia gives Americans something more, an actual extra day of time to "get stuff done."

Simply put, from 7 am to 1 pm I can work comfortably from a coffee house on talks, book, press requests or my startup while all my friends and connections back in the States sleep quietly.  

By 3 pm America is waking up,  the emails, social media messages and texts alerts start pouring out of my phone like a bottomless goblet at King Authors Court.

From 3 pm - 7 pm local time, I go into overdrive returning the volley of the requests. With each request served, a new one arrives, reminiscent of the TTL feedback in a network ping request from a 1990's Unix command line.


Finally between  10 and 11 pm I make my last conference calls with the "Land of the Free" and go to sleep while the world continues to trend. 

WINTER HAS LEFT THE BUILDING

Some would argue, there are "season friendly" times to visit Scandinavia than February through June and I can somewhat see their point of view.  In the beginning, the days are short, and the nights long, the wind is harsh, and people are covered from head to toe. 

As in life, if you stick it out, you see the beauty of patience. 
What was a long night becomes a long day, creased eyes peering over a scarf turn into a full smile, bundled peers clinging to buildings become skin showing friends basking at sidewalk cafes. 

I came to Scandinavia to finish up work on my book for St Martin's Press, "I Am You, Tomorrow."

"I Am You, Tomorrow" is a  project I'm very proud of you can read more about the book from the "Publishers Marketplace" summary earlier in the year below:

Chris Dancy's I AM YOU TOMORROW, in which he elaborates on his "digital happiness project" with personal stories, inspiration and practical advice on becoming happier and healthier, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, pitched as a cross between Marie Kondo and Gretchen Rubin for the tech-dependent—us all, to Elisabeth Dyssegaard at St. Martin's, by Kirby Kim at Janklow & Nesbit (NA).

EVENTS OF THE DAY

It's never enough to only work on one thing at a time, so while in Scandinavia I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in GroupM's "NextM" conference, probably one of the few events left on earth that join technology, people and heart so effectively. 

At NextM I got to reveal my new talk "I Love You, Don't Block Me." The idea behind this topic was simple to talk openly about how we connect, love and stay in love in the age of taps, snaps, and screenshots. Finally, I was so excited to share the European debut of "iPhone Palmistry" at an event!

Ten conferences, 18 countries, 15 airports later, I'm winding down my time where with a few more public-facing events, even a few more debuts!

CYBORG COWORKING

While Stockholm might have been my hub during this period and Epicenter has been my home. 

Epicenter may sound familiar to you if you follow my travels or work. In 2015 Epicenter and their cybernetic pitchman Hannes Sjoblad were featured in the Showtime Documentary "Dark Net." 


WORLDWIDE WISDOM

Finally, I am so proud of the work that Telia has done over the past few years. Keynotes, workshops to our latest collaboration about the evolution of humankind to as we hopefully move to a "World Wide Wisdom."

The program is part of Telia Carrier's "Anywhereization" program. Here is an overview from their CEO, Staffan Gojeryd.

"Because the Internet is made up of extraordinary individuals like Chris Dancy who drive things forward. I see him as living proof that this is what connectivity will let all of us do."

There is a really super splash page with stats about my life and information on the rest of the program and the video series. 

Finally, there is a really moving tribute to my work in an article called "The Man Who Became his own App" 

TAKE THREE AND CALL ME IN THE MORNING

There are three more events left here in Sweden for the month of May 2017. Please take a moment to reach out to me or visit one of my final events here in town!

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Internet of 

Everything

Thursday, May 11, 2017, 11:45-12:15

Alströmergatan 20-22, 112 47 Stockholm, Sweden

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Contemplative Technology 

Workshop

Wednesday, May 15, 2017, 6:00-9:30 pm

Epicenter: Mäster Samuelsgatan 36, Stockholm

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BioHacker Summit

Friday, May 19, 2017, 10:00-10:30

Epicenter: Mäster Samuelsgatan 36, Stockholm


CIO Sweden Keynote - April 2017

Knock, Knock, The Future of Work Isn't There

I've had the pleasure to be interviewed for seven books so far. You can find them here in the "print" section, http://www.chrisdancy.com/media/ Yesterday, I was interviewed again, for a new book coming out about the future of work. I thought this might be a good way to share my current thinking in 2017 and some details you may not know about my current projects!

I'm finishing up my own book which will be to publishers by summer! Enjoy a little trip down my rabbit hole.

Interview with Chris Dancy, 17/03/17 -Phoebe Moore


------

PM: Thank you so much for interviewing with me. First, I would be really interested to hear about the book you are writing.

CD: ‘I am you, tomorrow’ is a story, a life story, a mash up of the ‘happiness project’ combined with ‘Tidy’ by Marie Condo, a collection of stories about me, kind of wiring up and things I learned about myself and I guess, tips and tricks.

I feel very passionately right now, I believe strongly about the rise of this kind of connected consciousness that’s happening, the spirituality aspects of how machines are democratising our relationship with existence itself and how that changes human evolution. Once we lose concepts regarding time, time is really the big thing on everyone’s mind right now, whether it’s feelings of mortality or the ephemeral nature of it, I think that can be traced to people’s relationship with technology.

PM: Tell me a bit about yourself, your life, your work, your drive?

CD: The benefit of looking at this project, I look at it with more patience… I had spent so many years with computers at a myopic level, customising a tool bar, I felt in some strange way that there was a level of control I could exact over my life if I could turn my own life into an interface. What that experience was, so the interface really became anything I could touch that was digital, because interfaces are information collectors. The experience was something that I didn’t really understand because the feedback loop using certain tools because of their inherent systems of collection, forced me to lie in those systems

So, I’m not sure what came first, desire to quantify or desire to control, but since then I have done experimentation not to control but to measure, but then found that the results are the same. I end up with a more profound sense, uneasiness, in a body in a world where I don’t matter.

PM: How do you think the quantified self movement started? What was it responding to?

CD: Some of the earliest meetings that I read about before they really got moving in 2008-9, reminded me that there’s something inherently unique about Silicon Valley. I trace it back to the diversity movement of 60s and 70s. Silicon Valley was a kind of bastion of safety, first in corporate diversity and inclusion with software companies in that area. This says a lot about how people’s brains evolved. I don’t know if we would have had such a technical revolution if it wasn’t for radical need to corral people who were looking for safe places. Look at the gay movement in SF, some of my earliest peers worked for Adobe and Microsoft Word and all those great places, so with that as a stage, by the time you get to the 90s and network based computing and some of the earliest projects were very inclusive and included disparate communities within a larger community, and then that takes you to the quantified self movement. People who innately understood likeminded individuals was a route to accessing their own beliefs and desire. People at a point in their lives and careers where they conquered everything, post bubble, post exit, post inclusion, post diversity and then the talks we are still having today, some would say those problems are solved. People were and are on a technological spirit quest, for lack of anything else. I have listened to interviews with Gary (Wolf) and other folks about its nature and objective about that reality, we could say we need a God.

PM: You are called the mindful cyborg. What do you mean by this? Did you have a personal rationale for tracking your self? What was it?

CD: This term came from when I got tired of being called the ‘world’s most connected man’. Spending more time in contemplative practice is important to me and has been since 2014. That being said, everyone I encounter who has some technical leanings end up measuring something. As soon as they measure, they want to hack everything.

Hard to find words that resonate with what people relate to. All I did with the moniker with mindful cyborg is to cut to the chase, two things that people can connect with. Concepts of mindfulness, contemplation, Buddhism overused. No good word for a technology person who wants to be all of these things.

PM: What do you typically track today? Has it become ‘second nature’?

CD: In 2017, I no longer need sensors, I realise I am a sensor. So often I’ll measure something and just for shits and giggles I’ll jot down what I think it will be, how far I have got etc. and it’s weird how accurate I am at telling temperature or light variance or a range of other things. I see information everywhere, not just info but scarily accurate info. So as far as, do I still measure stuff, 10 years in, I still measure simple things: sleep, food, activity, meditation time, but there is no need to, I know these things innately. The strangest thing I have experienced is that I now know this about other people. I recently had an interview with Irish radio and I told everyone what their sleep etc. was. It became really obvious just by looking at the wear on people. I still measure a few things but I hate the concept of ‘measuring’ and I feel like I can do it innately, but I often tell people who want me to come wired up, because you wouldn’t hire someone to be a clown at a party who is dressed in business attire.

It’s become so mainstream now, my partner is 25 and he had been tracking steps and location and had never even heard the word tracking. Apple’s Health Kit has changed all that.

PM: Has anything changed in the way people work today? Why?

CD: I spent two years in population health company and I see this increasing trend not only of normalisation but the … health care providers gather data at a population level, even expect to track you, everything from the garishness of biometric screening to checking in with health coach once a week. Take the case of Humana giving out apple watches to 10000 people. It almost seems like technological fascism, I don’t understand why this is not examined at a greater/deeper level other that healthcare is needed. Convenience trumps privacy.

It’s easy for me to say that if it’s convenient they’ll just do it, HSA spend or toward deductibles. But where there is resistance to tracking, or becomes mainstream, you see automation. Some of earliest tracking were overnight trackers. Within a few years this will happen in driving and trucking and the same thing will happen in all access of work.

I have just got a Tesla, it tracks everything,  so it allows me not to pay attention! In fact, that is ultimate holy grail, we want the benefits of knowing everything without paying attention to anything, that is diametrically opposed to what we could call ‘life’. Knowing is hurting, life is not knowing and everything just ‘works’. That is literally, death: that is when there is nothing left for us to do.

PM: What is your perspective about work and labour and machines, from tracking and monitoring to automation?

CD: We need to look realistically at the role of machines in human life in 2017 and next 10 years, to answer the question about work and automation. If we were honest with ourselves, machines are teaching us to act like machines. We are not teaching machines to act human.

Our relationship with machines in the future will be on an almost a nostalgic basis, teaching people how to be people if you look at that long 50-year loop: machines teaching us to be human. What will happen is that so much of our lives will become automated, the need to feel authentic will come from some data that will be collected and mimicked and fed back to us.

If I just look 2008-17, most people I interact with have become functioning iPhones. They speak in tweets, photograph in filters, our speech has evolved to emojis. When you meet someone who veers off that path, it’s disconcerting. If I want help in a busy store I stand perfectly still and even if I’m last in line, the clerk will say can I help you? Something about humans suddenly locking up like a browser like a browser or iPhone, gets attention! Now is a good time to talk about how much can we ‘give’ machines if ultimately, they have to teach us.

PM: Has our relationship with ‘management’ and/or machines changed as a result of machines at work?

CD: I’d be out of my league to answer that question, I haven’t worked with humans where I had a manager in almost 20 years, so historically I would be taking a stab in the dark.

I do manage some biological metrics with my own team. We are all measured and that data is available to us all. If someone is not sleeping, sleep is usually what I manage, I will purposefully divert work from them, until I notice those trends are going back to normal.

If I see employees’ bedtimes are varying, I will make subtle changes in the background. I never talk to employees about this, I just change things where I can to improve the situation.

I see organisations that use the Jawbones weaponising employees’ lack of sleep and promoting them as ‘better humans’. You see it a lot in ‘dev’ culture, where people slept for two hours and are ‘jacked up’ on caffeine. I think it’s the least human thing you can do, create a brag-worthy cultures.

This kind of culture excludes people who have other responsibilities such as family or people who don’t have access to supplements or certain foods, it’s a bad spiral on all sorts of levels. You’re rewarded for being a single health nut. The message is, don’t get married, don’t know too many people, don’t participate in political discussions online. We have homogenised the entire workforce, just add Vitamin D and sell people as milk. We put pictures of missing people on milk cartons, maybe people are the milk and the cartons…

PM: Do your employees ‘opt in’ to their data being viewed?

CD: My employees are all on Texas, we function asa Delaware Inc and we run out of Tennessee, the strange things it that they all want to do it. They say, if they could be more like me their lives would be better. But learning about yourself isn’t always as great as you might think. It’s a slippery road.

We have this moniker we follow, everything has to follow: TASK which means, Trust, Aware, Safe, and Kind. We can’t talk about data, tech, or each other unless it fits into this or brings out a sense of these things in that order.

PM: What is the future of technology and work? Privacy… surveillance… ‘gig economy’…

CD: I can’t see past the gig economy unless we get into something like Jaron Lanier who wrote about ‘Who owns the future?’. I still think we are less than 20 years away from buying and selling out data from some kind of marketplace, the future of work is what you will give me and I will give you about myself. It makes me think of the Justin Timberlake movie where everyone is swapping time touch wrists to keep alive.

Work in the future, well, privacy is work. The only thing left in the future is the ability to understand and dictate your information, that will be done for you. The concept of an app where Uber drivers make a selection not only based on ‘where’ I was, but also ‘how’ I was, so a driver in the opposite space. So, if I’m in a bad mood, someone will treat me differently.

This is all relating to intimate data exchange. I saw this early on with Uber. They were testing the Spotify integration at some point. The driver would then automatically play what they were playing on Spotify. I asked an Uber driver about that experience and they told me, ‘it’s interesting to hear everyone’s music. What I miss, though, is knowing more about that person’. So, the human desire to know interesting details, not in a dark way, just connect/sharing what we jam to in that passive API way, that’s what will be integrated.

Everything is customised now. There is a McDonalds app you can use to can call ahead to get a Big Mac and they won’t charge you or make it until you’re a certain distance away. But will they stop adding mayo if you haven’t walked enough?

Health convenience related are going to get staggering.

Our ability to ‘opt out’? Well, it will seem ‘odd to opt out’. I don’t think there are any digital Amish yet. But those people who say, ‘I’ve had enough, I’m not partaking’, I know people who are purposefully living a 1998 lifestyle, because they have enough money.

It costs a lot not to have internet access. I wonder whether in the future whether people will be able to afford not living with the internet. So, if a phone was only a phone, without wifi connected, you would be on the streets within a week.

Disconnected people will live amongst us in the future. But we now do everything without technology. The most garishly rich in the 1970s had farms and horses. You had estates and everything is done by hand, tailor to maid.

There was a guy in 2013 who lived without internet for a year. He said it took so long to find a pizza, without connectivity and only phone calls on your phone, you would probably be on the street within a couple of weeks.

Not being connected will constitute a new disability.

PM: What are the risks of machines and monitoring and work and what should be done to mitigate them?

CD: Nothing we can really do now, that horse has left the building. To mitigate, we need a complete overhaul of how we code and implement technology. I said in my TED Talk that we stop solveing our human problems with technology, and start solving our technology problems with our humanity. Our humanity comes from a sense of perspective and a sense of awe. I think if we could create technology or code implement in a way that had a sense of awe and perspective but as we leave the world of screen time and we wear the technology and live inside the technology, we will be faced with the problem of our technological journey, so what life can be after the interface, wanting to become an interface, at this point in our generation, it’s anti-choice, as an interface there’s no choice. It’s ‘just in time’ but there’s no choice. If I ask Alexa to play music she’ll only play Amazon prime. If I ask her to play Madonna she will only play Madonna I have listened to or is in my own folders.

Time-less. Is technology shaping a 6th sense or have we opened the door to the 4th dimension?

Do you ever feel like your entire life is on a schedule

Can you sense people in a hurry or feel them standing behind you in lines at the store?

How often can you sense someone in a hurry from just an emoji or the lack of a response in a text message?

Are there times when you feel you have to optimize your every move, just not to be run over by the onslaught of tasks in your life?

When does our need to organize, categorize and store the world around us become an all-consuming way of life?

Maybe you're suffering from the "relentless now", or what author Douglas Rushkoff referred to as "Narrative collapse" in his 2013 book “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now”.

Or even scarier we are plagued with what Alvin Toffler called "Future Shock" in his 1970 masterpiece by the same name. Future Shock was defined as "too much change in too short a period of time".

Our society and life is disposable sure that's a given, but we now live in an age where the average web page is changed every 10 days and more media is created every second than the previous 100 years, with a majority of that media posted purposefully to ephemeral services or secured through encryption, never to see the light of day.

What started out as VCRs and DVD has become a way of life. Our ability to record, replay and store life is profoundly shaping what and how humanity relates to time.

FOMO, Flashback Friday, 24 hour McDonald's breakfast, binge watching seasons of TV in an afternoon, e-cigarettes, all symptoms of time becoming unbundled from our lives, our tools, passions and friends. 

Children today don't have to wait for anything and can stream a song from any decade instantly.

Many college students are graduating with the same set of "friends" that they started elementary school with because of Facebook.

Facebook as allowed us to browse our friends and classmate’s life at any point and even binge watch their demises and successes.

How old are you on Facebook anyway?

TV shows from the past 50 years can be accessed within moments and websites dedicated to fan fiction alternate timelines literal our life.

YouTube vloggers have edited their day into fractions of soundbites creating a generation of people who can only relate to a second or less of speech at a time.

A majority of audiobooks and podcasts listened to at 2x or even 3x speed.

Our lives no longer have an order. What started out with electricity and our ability to change the circadian rhythm with the invention of the light or proliferation of mass transportation to augment our ability to travel great distances in a fraction of the time has morphed into the single largest cognitive upgrade to humanity in the last 1000 years.

Chronospection, the ability to sense time is fast becoming the first cybernetic super skill and we have only seen the tip of the iceberg on how this new ability is changing people and the tools they use.  

“When the only value left is time, the world becomes a clock”.
— Douglas Rushkoff

Our connectedness has become a choreographed event where each person takes time being a system of record for the other. From simple transactions like paying for groceries that are instantly turned into complex dialogs with machines and currency.

The friends and family members we came to know and love often finish our sentences as if we were searching for something on the web and the auto-complete suggested an answer.

Time-less, a journey to the fourth dimension of humanity is an intimate exploration of how humanity evolved into the first post cognitive species and the sign posts along the way.

Life in 2024 or how the iPhone changed our world, reflections on my Iphone anniversary.

 

8 years ago today I waited in line for my first iPhone. 

2008

The iphone 3GS would have built in GPS and run an app store. 
 

2016


Who could have seen that people would use their phones for Health informations, Credit Cards, Interfaces to their cars and homes?

How could we have have known that people would be using their phone not to make calls, but to take photos and videos that would instantly disappear because we preferred it that way?

When the iPhone came out Facebook had less than 100 million people on their platform, today that number is closer to 2 Billion. 

Who could have guessed that in just 8 years governments would be toppled and that people would be live streaming violence and death directly to social media?

Where were the futurist predicting that we would prefer to communicate with machines over people or that paying for your groceries would be come a complex transaction where our club card and credit cards would be choreographed routines dictated by cashiers who really only needed us to be more optimized. 

How did we end up In an age where we wear health trackers, communicate with people by binge watching their life or we expect our social media providers to give us tools for dealing with the passing of a loved one, or the break up of a relationship and even access to our families?

How did we go from calling cabs to a nation of people driving their cars part time for a living or renting out their homes while they are away to make ends meet?

What does it mean, when the quality of our relationships is defined by the number of "people" are connected to and having a piece of hardware, mediate ALL your relationships?

Why do we keep our devices charged and our hearts and bodies weary?

When did we decide our values needed to trend for us to find our voice?

Who we are as a species has been defined by the tools we use and these tools were shaped to meet our human needs. 


Yet we live in an age where our tools bend and shape us to their needs, their corporate interests.


Today Apple as close to 250 billion dollars in cash, that's 5 times the US government. 

Apple has an international monetary, communication and health system. 
 

2024


Today, give yourself a little hug, because life in 2024, 8 years from now looks a lot different.


iPhones won't be devices we carry with us, they will be systems we wear, that dictate our every move and control and filter our every relationship.

You won't download apps, you install "habits" and "environments"

Children born today go to high school in a world where machines plan the lessons.

First graders today will exclusively talk to machines full time by the end of college.

Teenagers will get their social skills by watching YouTube videos.

Our driverless cars will be elaborate iphone cases that just carry our preferences and our families to events optimized, automated and controlled for the best entertainment value.

Our time will be weaponized and every second wasted not in service to our work will be counted and measured.
 

Virtual reality will be how we meet "people" and the first Tinder generation will graduate from elementary high school. 

Our health care will be controlled and monitored by the devices we use in our homes, cars and the very clothing we wear.

We are the last generation of people who will have a choice in how we are "remembered" 

15 minutes of fame will be optimized to exactly 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Maybe this is all magical and the StarTrek future of no money and peace in our solar system is right around the corner. 

I wonder though, who is training the 30 year olds for the jobs that will be around in eight years?

Who is securing work for the 40 year old's that wonder if they are going to be part of the next layoff round?

It's time we talk seriously about a ditching the iphone and focus on the WEphone.

No one is getting out early and no one, is getting ahead.

Go love someone.

 

DEATH BY EFFICIENCY

The morning started with mediation and breakfast before heading out to a few appointments.

First stop, the bank where I needed to exchange Euros for US Dollars and get some additional cash for the weekend.

Inside the branch my teller, Derek inquires "Do you have your ATM Card, it would be quicker for you"

I let Derek know that I don't carry my card and I have my ID.

Nearing the end of the transaction Derek informs me that soon I'll be able to use Apple Pay at ATMs. "Soon you will be able to walk up to any ATM with your watch or phone and get cash!" 

I pause, consider telling Derek, that is his job being replaced, and opt to smile and thank him instead.

Upon arriving at my second stop, FEDEX, I go to the "ready print" counter. The employee asked for my name and pulls my print job out and carefully slips it out of the bag.

"How is your order?", she smiles and blinks.

"The order is beautiful, thank you for doing such a great job on it", I softly say.

With an autonomous tone she states, "Well, you used our online print system, it should be perfect every time and you don't need to talk to anyone!"

The sinking feeling of a day driven by automation and commerce crawls into my gut. 

My veterinary office is tucked away on a small alley in Brentwood, Tennessee.

I was relieved to see no line, no waiting room full of people or dog pile up near the front door. 

Sitting behind the front desk are three cheerful employees. 

"Hi, I need to make an appointment, get a refill and ask a question."

I can sense my speech is starting become crisp, short and to the point, my perfectly formed tweet talk, is music to most people's ears. 

Immediately all three employees go to work on my requests as if I just hit "Print" on the task bar of the veterinary office!  

Simultaneously they were working on each other's tasks and their own task.

They each asked me for additional information as if the others request and employees did not exist, just a few feet away.

They worked independent and co-dependent of each other, like any great multi-tenant cloud platform.

I was starting to feel frustrated with the request and the speed at which I was being “processed”

Looking directly at the middle employee and smiling warmly I asked,

"Can I close your browser tab for a moment?"

They looked at each other, paused and laughed, only to return to their screens and hyper efficiency.

Again, I paused and looked directly at the person in front of me, “I feel overwhelmed, do you notice what is happening?”

She looked up and said, “It's more efficient this way and our customers enjoy feeling of being served faster”

I left the vet and headed to my lunch appointment. 

My car already had the address from my iPhone in the navigation system using Apple's "Car Play"

A playlist suggested is called "Afternoon driving" and I accepted it and drove off keeping an eye on the real time fuel consumption gauge in my car.

Stop lights are the perfect chance to check Grindr, Tinder and Scruff to see if anyone new is in the area to possible start a conversation with or ask out to dinner.

Pulling in to the Starbucks near my lunch appointment, I notice the line of cars wrapped around the building, it's 1045am caffeine levels need to be refilled.

As I walk into the store, I'm greeted a sign pointing to the counter of full of people. The sign reads "Skip this line, use mobile order and pay"

As I scan the recently flipped "Taco Bell" I notice people hovered over their screens, apple watches strapped to their wrists, phones just inches away from their laptops. Ear buds masking their noise.

Cables, cords, bags, backpacks filling every spare chair, table top and corner.

Each laptop monitor filled of windows and tabs, broadband pumping into their minds, their bodies their souls.

As I place my order, I can feel the people behind me, sneering at the inefficacy at which I navigate the menu, transaction and my own indecision as I search for popcorn that isn't 35 grams of sugar and a drink with no caffeine. 

The cashier instructs me to swipe my credit card, then use my chip, then hit the green button, I'm being forced through a retail transaction with the vengeance of a hostage negotiation on mothers day. 

I can't even look up from the terminal to thank him. 

As I walk away, the young lady behind me says,

"Next time, you can use the app and you won't have to pay or talk to anyone, it's amazing!"

I gazed deeply in her eyes and said, I miss “talking to people” and I enjoy seeing my money.

Slowly I make my way to a table where I open my laptop and record the events of the past hour, feverishly run spell check and slam it on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. 

On the heels of a string of text messages I received all morning from my lunch date, informing me of her schedule, moment to moment, my cell vibrates and says

"I'm running late, my hairdresser is late can we move our lunch to 12:30?"

I look back at my laptop, open a new tab and go back to work being distracted until I'm required to be fully present for the next transaction in my life. 

I’ve spent the better part of eight years, hooked up to every sensor, recording system and computer you can think of.


I’ve optimized every part of my life, I’m thinner, richer, kinder, faster, smarter and more wise.

Technology can shape you, but what shape will you be?

I fear we may have crossed into a world where people are mimicking the systems they use.

I worry that people no longer understand how it feels to be manipulated by multiple systems.

I hope, I am wrong.

Turning yourself into Wikipedia

 

Key Takeaways:

[2:02] Every major corporation is surveilling you, they just have a different name for it to make it sound better

[3:02] Chris tells Jason how he went about starting to collect data on himself and how he decided what to do with it

[5:46] How Chris’ background as a Database Analyst led him to be able to collect all his data on himself

[7:34] The one piece of equipment that’s already doing tracking for you, whether you know it or not

[9:04] How categorizing your purchases by feeling rather than type can change the way you view your habits

[10:10] Wanting to collect data is good, but data isn’t very high on the food chain of your life

[11:03] The internet is turning into the INNERnet

[12:41] What could cause the death of apps

[15:17] As technology improves, we’re heading towards devices that can track anything we want, from blood oxygen to reading blood with spectral imaging

[17:04] How marketing could be changed as companies are able to get more and more data about our lives and the one place on Earth that’s ALREADY doing this

[18:45] The new world of data collection and surveillance is new and, admittedly, scary

[19:35] Whether we should be optimistic or pessimistic about the direction we’re headed with technology and surveillance

[21:46] What is singularity and how far off it might be

[23:20] The people who are going to be the most important as we move into quantum computing

Websites Mentioned:

www.chrisdancy.com
www.twitter.com/chrisdancy

Tweetables:

[6:32] “there’s this interesting relationship about our lives when you experience everything through a connected interface, that you realize there’s filtered information that you can benefit from”

[8:03] “We’re entering an age very rapidly, in the next 4 years (and I’d say we’re already, it’s done), where you can’t afford to live without the internet”

[18:08] “Disney’s probably the most surveilled, convenient, safe space on Earth”

 

Chris Dancy is touted as “the Most Connected Man on Earth,” and the world is watching those connections carefully. For 25 years, Dancy has served in leadership within the technology and healthcare industries, specializing in the intersection of the two.

Chris entered the public dialog concerning digital health as the media started to focus on wearable technology. He earned his moniker by utilizing up to 700 sensors, devices, applications, and services to track, analyze, and optimize his life–from his calorie intake to his spiritual well-being. This quantification enables him to see the connections of otherwise invisible data, resulting in dramatic upgrades to his health, productivity, and quality of life.

A noted keynote speaker and executive workshop retreat facilitator, Chris guides organizations and audiences on a journey–a disruptive, breathtaking journey–into the future of computing, when behavior becomes the ultimate interface.

Oh God, The Future has QUESTIONS.

I'm often asked by journalist for answers to questions about the future.

The call for help, reminds me of a scene from the movie "Oh, God!" starring George Burns in 1977.

In the scene, no one believes that "Jerry Landers", aka John Denver can talk to God.

So "Jerry Landers" is put on trial and given a bunch of questions that only "God" can answer. 

It's hysterical to contemplate a test for the future, must less a "God", but as a child that scene informed my reality about how people value the firm footing of hope and "knowledge" over embracing the groundlessness of the present moment.

How will we communicate online in 2025? We currently use screens, keyboards and touchscreens; voice controlled applications (Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Echo etc) are increasingly common. How will this change in the next decade?

Talking to computers will be something that will be very commonplace but the emerging field of behavioral algorithms will take shape in the world.

Behavioral algorithms will take our perceived behavior by cameras, microphones, location, and biology and allow computers to offer new interfaces and feedback routines based on a hyper contextual awareness.

Communications by 2025 will be focused on behavioral based skills and social systems. Skill based systems will review our "quantified self" or day to day, observed behavior and start to "assist" us by offering "habits" or "environments" to support our conveniences. Our behavioral based social systems will function by alerting our friends, family and peers of changes in our behavior. Much like a social media status update alerts them in 2016 of our current "status". Software will function by knowing how we "feel" not when/where we are.

What role will the following technologies play in 2025: gesture control, brain control (brain computer interface (BCI)), virtual and augmented reality? What else?

Alternative interface will rule 2025, so much so that calling them “alternative” will be like calling Facebook “social media”.

The idea of using a keyboard and screen will be seen as old fashion as using a "smart phone". Just as "Flip phones" seem silly in comparison to smart phones today in 2016.

This is critical to understand because of how we currently review the accuracy of information by making a "choice" in it when we select it.

With alternative interfaces the idea of "choice" or "selecting" an answer, route or even emotion will be preselected for us.

Remember for every interface there is a feedback loop. So you can't have a new interface without a new feedback mechanism. For instance, apple watch is a new interface, using gestures for an interface but also haptic as a feedback mechanism.

More importantly with apple watch to think about is the feature "digital touch" technology.

The idea of sending someone taps or a heart beat is how the social aspects of alternative user interface and feedback loop will look and be common by 2025.

Specifically:

  1. Gesture control- Gesture control will be more common in specific areas of work / automation. Home based / personal based gestures will be more focused on types of "touch". A heavy touch, slip, tilt of a finger.
  2. Brain control (brain computer interface (BCI)- This will be a type of interface but more than likely it will be a tool for observation. To inform games or entertainment. BFI won't be needed until the early 2030's because of advancements in camera and sound technology on our equipment around us. By 2035 BCI will be critical in understanding nuanced pleasure states to inform more complex population and high end goods and services.
  3. Virtual / augmented / mix/ hybrid reality- Alternate realities as an interface will change entertainment, education and some skilled professions more than they will be common enhancements to the traditional user interface. The idea of people enhancing reality outside of these areas by 2025 is not common. By 2045, hybrid reality though will be common and most of what we experience from our organic senses will augmented in some physical and cognitive level full time, including sleep.
  4. What else -
  • Temporal - Systems using annual or historical context will be ubiquitous by 2025. The concept of time as an interface will change how we schedule events and relive our memories. The massive amount of behavior data we will collect in the next 10 years will create a "Truman Show" meets the Star Trek holodeck for shopping and travel.
  • Geolocation - Increasing emphasis on using location as a "filter" or interface will be staggering by 2025. Historical location combined with behavior will give consumers an instant trip down memory lane.
  • Activity - Hitting a staggering wave of adoption by 2020, activity based user interface will be almost ubiquitous by 2025. Software will understand "I'm driving", "I'm walking". By creating an adaptive alternative interface for those types of skills or offering alternative experience. You can see the early adoption of this in software that understands you're running and offers a playlist for you.
  • Behavioral - Software that uses the context of behavior will be seamlessly integrated into our lives. The easiest way to look at "behavior" as an interface would be Microsoft's "Clippy" from the 90's. Clippy would ask "It looks like you're typing a letter want some help?" By monitoring your computer behavior (taking many photos, listening to sad music) computers will be able to offer different feedback and interface options.
  • Biological - This interface is about the sensors we keep on and in our bodies. Digestible and temporary sensors we use in our day to day life will offer up ways to interact with us based on our health and vitality. This revolution will change the face of computing and humanity forever, as we merge into a single information unit from the dark history of “big data” and we move into the new day of “big knowledge”.
  • Environmental - The last of the alternative interfaces and feedback routines is environmental. Just like behavior the rise in sensors will create a network of hyper proximal information that can be used, controlled or changed based on the needs of the person. Today you can see the integration between Jawbone's up3 band and Nest's thermostat as an early example of this new and frightening phenomena of environment as an interface.
This period of time in 2025 will be the last year we have where everything in our lives is not controlled, influenced or enhanced by code. By 2035 "existence as a platform" will be common and everything will be influenced by code.

Where will their impact be most felt? Among everyday consumers, or within sectors like medicine, and other industry?

 

Like all advancements the impact is being felt now in research labs and with the military. The actually realization of these technologies always is most observable with the consumers. We are addicted to convenience and 2025 will be no different. Anything that makes shopping or "saving" time will be effected first.

If you want to understand technology, study money.

How evident are these technologies today? Where (medicine, science, Google Glass etc)? What will it take to make them mass market / common?

Higher end technologies like "digestible" computing you can see today in medical research. Mass market adoption starts when the ease of use is greater than the convenience the technology creates. For example, email is not as "easy" to use as texting. The interface for email has become heavy. So the lower tech is more popular. Using location as an interface was made easy so a map, GPS coordinates make services like "uber" easy to understand. Mass market adoption is as simple as creating a digital "hit" of a new drug to make life simple and combining it with a piece of information to create a new "consumer element"

How will these technologies alter the gadgetry itself (the hardware and UI)? What will happen to mobile phones, for instance?

2025 will be the end of "mobile phones" as we understand them. The hardware makers, but more importantly the attention platforms, TV, Web publishing will have moved into our lives, into our homes and cars. The internet as we understood it ended sometime in 2012. By 2025 the internet will be us and we will be the internet. Our homes will be environments connected to an "awareness" of our needs. Like all future predictions, this technology will be spread unevenly. Many folks will live in average houses but have very intelligent cars.

We won't upgrade our phones each year, we will by “extensions” to our phone experiences. New cars with better integration to our lives. New TV's with more understanding of our families.

Will 2025 simply be a stepping stone to something else – the next technological shift? What will that be?

Just as 1995 defined a new era in the interface with Windows 95. 2005 defined an era of connected 'social' computing. 2015 defined an era of 'smart' objects. 2025 will transform the last of non-programmable parts of our lives into code. Children born in 2025 will have the option to never understand where the "information" comes from. We are the last humans of a race of people that understood it's origins from the vantage point where you could apply your own bias.

We are at the dawn of the machine age and the sunset of the organic age.