1/ Observing Possible Micro-Futures

1: Status Update

As we become more and more involved in social media, the social rules and complexities of the digital world becomes more and more complicated, possibly more so in the ‘real’ world . If our real world interactions look like the group above, will we ever not need to interact in the real world, especially with the advancement of VR and AI? If we interact mostly with people in text, is it possible for proxy bots to take over our ‘less important’ social responsibilities?


2. Health Tracking

While personal health tracking becomes more and more widespread as well as more and more intensive, we are facing a multitude of unprecedented issues. We are becoming obsessed with our mortality, which takes time and effort away from really any other activity, including (directly) body positivity. Additionally, why are we putting so much of our time and effort to extend our lives by just a few years? Why don’t we have an equivalent for mental health?



3. The American Death

With more and more Baby Boomers dying, we need to be thinking about the end-of-life, death, and disposal process more. How do we start that conversation? Do we approach it like any other life-rite (birth, marriage, etc.) which has now been Pinterestified? Since we are moving more and more towards *trendy* sustainability, will that transfer into our death culture? Should we be letting religion reign over the environment in terms of funeral tradition? Why are millennials so obsessed with joking about death?

2/ Side-Effects and Side-Shows

For this activity, I will be exploring the Health Tracking micro-future.

Side Effects:

  • “Middle-class neurotics continuously monitoring their vital signs while they sleep”
  • “Corporate medicine and the drug industry who conspire to make us neurotic”
  • Are we wasting our time monitoring life instead of living it?
  • Spending too much energy on day-to-day fluctuations that may not be entirely accurate or representative
  • There are the “deserving sick” (those that did not pay attention to their health and take action) and the “undeserving sick” (Type 1 diabetes, breast cancer, etc.). The “undeserving sick” feel like they’ve been cheated.
  • Will people start to cheat the system, with the amount of calories they enter, taking the tracker off sometimes
  • What if you never meet your goal? Where is the motivation to keep using it?
  • What if you do meet your goal? Will you continue relentlessly tracking or not? Will that cause you to fall off the wagon?

Side Shows:

  • Will health-insurance companies require the latest stats on your health?
  • Will risky behaviors fluctuate based on the results?
  • What will the role of doctors and diagnostic tests/centers be?
  • Will we judge our friends and family based on their ability to track and successfully shift their health? Will this ever be a part of social media, not just your interests and what you look like, but how healthy you are and how much you care about your health?
  • Will the government begin to allocate money to states differently based on their citizen’s health, and which places are most likely to be successful with programs, or even invest money based on who will be around the longest?
  • Will we elect officials based on their health (especially for lifetime positions like the Supreme Court
  • Increase in healthy, organic options at lower prices (Aldi’s recent developments)

Role of the Designer:

Within these trackers:

  • Turning data into actionable information
  • Representing data in a different way, to align with fitness goals (If you keep going at this rate, you’ll reach your goal in 10 days!)
  • However, those goals might be more of a commentary (You keep saying you want to die? Only 1751666 more cigarettes until you reach your goal!)

Outside of these trackers:

  • If the objective is to “get healthier”, can we design public spaces, programs, etc. to facilitate that?

11/20/16: Concept Map — Emotional Relationships affected by Personality of Device

5 / Reflect, Critique, Document

For my final project, I designed Physio— a health tracker/ “health Improvement System” that accelerated the effects of the wearer’s behavior physically. After receiving a Hormonal Adjustment Implant, the user will obtain a prescription for Physio, the external tracker. Physio will reward ‘good’ behavior like exercise with accelerated effects of increased agility, decreased anxiety, and euphoria. It will punish ‘bad’ behavior like poor diet, smoking, and lethargy with decreased agility, irritability, and depression. After a prescribed period of wear, a doctor will evaluate the wearer’s behavior through the information recorded by Physio and may prescribe another period of wear.


  • People stop going to the doctor because they are being rewarded for their behavior
  • Once a system of operant conditioning is removed (program is over) the wearer might go back to their previous ways
  • User might think of health as arithmetic— and believe they can cancel out all effects of bad behavior with good behavior, rather than just decreasing bad behavior
  • Abuse: users may only exercise for the Physio positive effects and engage in unhealthy amounts of exercise that may lead to dehydration and exhaustion
  • Enforcement of unsafe behavior: users may engage in unsafe exercise (while injured, for instance) to avoid being punished, or be rewarded for unsafe behaviors such as risky exercise
  • General fear: users may be afraid to try anything new because they are so afraid of the potential side-effects


There are many ambiguities and areas for further exploration within the scenario I create.

  • What is the role of the physician, and how do they use the ever-increasing amount of data on their patients?
  • Will implants to track the potential for disease and other health problems be an opt-out program rather than opt-in? What will the decision process look like
  • What will the role of the ‘tracker’ be? Will it be to just make the user aware of the metrics of their behavior, provide some interpretation like Physio (“This is good”, “This is bad”), or offer some kind of solution to trends and issues it detects (“Would you like to be connected with someone to talk to about your diet? weight? mental state? exercise schedule?”)?

Role of the Designer:

I believe that the role of the designer in this scenario, as in it seems all current scenarios, is to reign in the possibilities of technology to ensure a human-centered, benevolent focus.

  • Who is the technology serving? the individual, the prescriber, a third party?
  • The UX/UI/ID of the trackers and interfaces themselves
  • Systems design of the implant process, through suggestion, decision-making, decision, implantation, and recovery
  • The social media of trackers: Since everyone has data collected about themselves, they will most likely want to share it. How do we ensure that accurate, safe data is being shared?

My Role:

I would definitely not want to be a part of this future scenario. Although I agree that having and idea about your overall health, as well as metrics about the amount of __ and __ you should be eating, how much exercise you need, what you should watch out for, etc. is important, I don’t agree that we need to know every metric that can possibly be measured, especially when we are unqualified to interpret and act upon it (painting with a broad brush).

I believe that successful campaigns, design of health products, and public spaces can curb the way that Americans think about exercise, diet, and health. However, to combat capitalism in the food, exercise, fashion (etc.) industries, strict legislation founded on extensive research must be in place to ensure a common goal of a safe, healthy, public at the forefront.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store