Anyone that knows me know that I am rather obsessed with technology, in so small part because I believe in its ability to better the world. Whether it’s at Capital Good Fund or in my person life, I am looking for the latest hardware and software advances; for instance, I recently installed a self-learning programmable thermostat at my house and at the office, and I routinely use my iPhone and iPad for work, to learn the Ukulele, to write articles and do research, listen to the radio, and so on. And now I’ve added yet another tool to my arsenal: the Jawbone UP, a device worn around the wrist that uses an accelerometer to track motion and sleep. When used in conjuction with the UP iPhone app, the Jawbone allows you to track all aspects of your life, from how much you move and sleep, to how much you eat and even your mood. And by providing a steady stream of feedback about your habits–you tend to sleep better when you’ve walked at least 10,000 steps in a day, or you sleep worse when you’ve eaten too close to going to bed–you can actually change those habits for the better.
Some might say that this is just another toy with no real social value, but let’s keep in mind that the developed world is experiencing an obesity epidemic. Not only does this crisis kill and lower the quality of life of tens of millions of people, it is also a major cost burden to society that leads to tax increases and/or cuts in programs for the poor. And let’s face it: it’s difficult, in our modern society, to resist the temptation of all the high fat foods marketed to us. So in short, we can use all the help we can get to stay in shape and eat right, and thanks to behavioral psychology we know that tools like the UP can make that easier. And that’s why I’m now using it–both because I want to be better my own life, and also because I want to better understand how these new devices can help others. You might also say that I’ve gone bionic..and I’m okay with that!
(Lastly, no, I’m not being paid by anyone to write this post)