The observable examined

Archive for the ‘future’ Category

auto analytics in the workplace

leave a comment »

I read an article titled – Employees, Measure Yourselves -in the Wall Street Journal. The article discusses, auto-analytics, a new set of technologies, that can monitor your activities and provide feedback. One class of auto-analytics software allows tracking of screen time. That is, how many windows you have open, how much time you spend on each one and so on. Supposedly the intent is to enable you to be more productive at the workplace. In other words, it is a slack-o-meter. It has a lot of creep factor built in. But as I was reading this article, I was thinking about Jonah Lehrer’s interview on Fresh Air. The topic was creativity.  The bottom line is: for innovation and creativity to do its magic, you have to allow yourself slack time, even daydream. So there is a bit of schizophrenia out there on this topic. More importantly, auto-analytics of this type is probably useful only to certain types of jobs where productivity is directly quantifiable.

The second type of auto-analytic technology uses cognitive mapping techniques. The idea is to facilitate the organization of your ideas over time so that you can potentially make associations that you may not have otherwise made, and have an “aha” moment. I can readily see the benefits of this technology (beacuse you could search for keywords and such which a paper based catalog would not allow). Your personal Watson?

To me, auto-analytics applied to health is the most interesting. Wellness programs are gaining in popularity among employers. After salaries, one of the biggest overheads for employers is health insurance. Employees in poor health, also cost them, in terms of lost productivity. So HR departments are going for Team Wellness Challenges, gym reimbursements, and the like to promote employee wellness. This is a great start. But I am very excited because we are working on some monitoring technologies and analytics that could change the way medicine is practiced today. Our first stop is women’s health in general and mothers to be, in particular. More on this when the time is appropriate.


Written by asterix98

April 5, 2012 at 4:16 am

Keyboard and mice on the way out?

with one comment

I serendipitously discovered this very cool video –  Death to Keyboard and Monitors

I totally love the concept! It is absolutely time for for an overhaul of  the desktop, keyboard, mouse and monitor paradigm!






Written by asterix98

November 4, 2011 at 7:16 am

Dragon moms

leave a comment »

The future is the edifice of our hopes, the clothesline on which to hang our dreams.  In fact, we all conduct our lives under the assumption that the edifice is strong, that the clothesline will not snap.  By implication, it means there is a reliable certainty to the trajectory of our lives. But more importantly, there is a fundamental assumption that the expiry date on the license of life is beyond the horizon.

In the realm of parenting, witness the Tiger moms dwell in the future, running pillar to post, soccer field to gym to admissions counseling to swim lessons to <you name it> activity, trying to secure a competitive advantage for their children. For them, the present is just a vehicle into the future.

But for some parents the present is all there is. In a brave, moving, and eloquent essay  – Notes from a Dragon mom  – Emily Rapp, explains why. Her child, Ronan, just 18 months old has Tay-Sachs disease. He is expected to live to the ripe old age of 3, none of it very pleasant. Please read it. It is as beautiful as it is tragic. If nothing else, it offers a mirror against which to calibrate our own lives.

Written by asterix98

October 20, 2011 at 11:03 am

Posted in future, parenting

Through the looking glass

leave a comment »

I attended a half-day seminar at UC Berkeley, this past Thursday. The seminar is part of the i4Science lecture series.

The link will take you to a detailed presentation of what they are about. In a nutshell, they are taking on simulation and modeling problems (climate, systems neuroscience, combustion, etc.,) that are very compute intensive. They are working with massive number of processors and coming up with innovative algorithms to address the computing and data modeling challenges.

These are such fascinating times to be a student. Exciting opportunities abound. I encourage students looking to make an impact on science and society to visit the link below


One of the lectures was by Jim Spohrer. If you click on the name it will take you to his presentations on Slideshare.net. He has been a tireless evangelist for a new discipline called Service Science, which is basically about harnessing Information and Communications Technology(ICT) for improving people’s lives. I urge you to take a look at his presentations.

There were many interesting tidbits of information. The one I got most excited about is this vision of the future video from Corning. For a technophile like me, this is the sort of thing that produces an intense cognitive rush. Absolutely brilliant/breathtaking stuff.

Written by asterix98

May 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm

%d bloggers like this: