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Sat Dec 26, 2020, 09:58 PM

'We're Outsourcing Our Self-Awareness To Silicon Valley' [View all]

'We’re Outsourcing Our Self-Awareness to Silicon Valley.' The New Republic, Dec. 24, 2020.

Amazon’s new fitness bracelet, Halo, will tell you how you’re feeling. That’s scary enough—but imagine what Jeff Bezos will do with that information.

Would you like to give your friends and loved ones the gift of surveillance this holiday season? Your options abound. The market for “smart” devices is booming: There are smart toothbrushes that monitor your dental hygiene, smart beds that measure how you sleep, and smart forks that watch your every bite. This intimate data can be helpful, steering you toward a healthier and more productive life. But it is also deeply interesting to others listening in.

In the digital economy, we are urged to outsource all manner of once routine mental activities. Critics have complained, for example, that reliance on navigational apps has sapped our native sense of orientation. We no longer have to pay attention to our bearings or geographical markers since Waze or Google Maps will do it for us. Now, an ambitious new smart product takes this trend a frightening step further.

Amazon’s Halo fitness tracker not only measures your heart rate and exercise routines but also your moods; it records your voice, analyzes your tone, and issues detailed reports of your emotional states throughout the day. New York Times media critic Kara Swisher recently tried it out:

“That first day a vexed emoji told me I was ‘stern’ or ‘discouraged’ for 16% of the day. ‘You had one phrase that sounded restrained and sad’ for 1.6 seconds at 12:30 p.m. … But 8% of the day, including for 14.4 seconds at exactly 11:41:41 a.m., I was ‘satisfied’… Later, for 1.2 seconds at 7:18:30 p.m., I was ‘afraid, panicked or overwhelmed.’”...

More, https://newrepublic.com/article/160748/amazon-halo-outsourcing-human-self-awareness-silicon-valley

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