Biosyncing: Symbiotic Communication Between the Virtual & Physical Worlds

Modern “wearable technology” has been around for a while. About ten years ago, while I was living in Australia, I started attaching the little Nike+ device to my shoe and going for runs around the city I had recently moved to. My memories of getting to know the streets and parks of Sydney are set to the sounds of The White Stripes and LCD Soundsystem mixed with verbal updates about my distance and pace. These verbal “nudges” encouraged me to run a little farther and a little faster, but “nudge” in this context wasn’t even part of the lexicon at that time. In the decade since, we have come to expect subtle interactions with our devices, especially ones that we use to track exercise, but thanks to explosive advances in artificial intelligence and mixed reality, we are going to see a corresponding growth in how we communicate with the virtual world.

Biosyncing refers to biomechanical symbiosis; when a human and a machine are in a reactive, performance-augmenting loop. It describes behavioral changes on the part of humans, based on mechanical feedback, and machines learning from human responses, making alterations automatically.

While there are other forms, athletic biosyncing is the most common one today. I have moved on from the Nike+ and now wear an OMSignal biometric shirt during workouts. This “smart” shirt accurately tracks my pulse and breathing rate. I also wear an Apple Watch to track the distance and pace of my runs, as I once did with my Nike+, but now far more accurately. I began using these devices in earnest approximately four months ago. Without much conscious thought, I began changing my exercise routines: slowing down as soon as I saw my heart rate go too high and sticking to regular long distances on a weekly basis. Within a short time, I found myself in the best physical shape of my life. This is an example of successful biosyncing: when a human enters into a mostly automatic reactive state.

While in the example above, the human (me), responded to information delivered to me mostly in the form of raw data, machines also respond to signals from humans.

Examples of interactions in biosyncing

This is the first in a series of posts on biosyncing. Stay tuned.

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