The other day, I completed my morning run and reached for my left wrist to stop the activity, I realized I wasn’t wearing anything that I could stop. No watch, no smartphone. I felt wow!. This happened because my arm band for phone had worn out and so had my Garmin GPS watch strap a few days ago – after years of loyalty :). So, I had just gone out on the run without any of these wearables on me. I can honestly say that I felt I ran faster, more freely with nothing on my mind other than running and felt lighter all the way.
That’s when I realized that, somehow these phones, watches etc. have this passive effect of making you run for them (or for your friends) rather than for yourself. You have this background thought of beating your previous record, pace etc. and showing it off on the race portal or Facebook. Don’t get me wrong it feels good to keep records, beat records and mutual encouragement from friends helps a lot. However, it does come at a price – the price is your freedom – your native-ness :). Your ability to not worry about anything else but to do what you like – only for yourself.
Above is a snapshot of my tracked runs. It feels good to see how many miles I have put on and how many virtual calories I have burnt all these years. But other than days when I am training for my races, I don’t think I care for any records or tracking.
Where I am leading to with this is that I find that wearable don’t necessarily have much of a future. After an initial hype and feel-good factor, dust will settle down. Because these just come with a very big baggage. Remember those Bluetooth headsets, these came in all kind of form factor – small, big, stylish, with blue light, without the light and so on. Today, I rarely see many people around me sporting these any more. It does not seem trendy any more. And I personally hate those ear plug types.
Similarly, we do so much like it when our phone does not ring for hours and hours. I realized this when I was out of coverage area for a few days in the serene surroundings of my home town on one of the vacations. It felt great to be off the grid and be more human.
The technology behind all of this is smart and useful and will perhaps continue to follow us in one form or another. But, I believe, as we mature in the digital age, we are going to start moving towards less and less of these wearables and gadgets and try to become more and more humans unless perhaps a chip start growing as a natural part of our human body – evolution – who knows!. After couple of years, we will talk about “Being Human” more than “Artificial Intelligence” or “Wearables” or “Smartphones” – but then who knows. Till then, lets play.