"Health 2.0, the Next Mega Trend" in Humanizing Tech
AI + DNA + Fitness + Food to predict a massive shift in human behavior
I. The Challenge
There’s an old adage in the startup and VC world. Being early is the same thing as being wrong. Well, I’ve been wrong a lot, because I always seem to be too early. Some examples include: Group Text Messaging, Apple Watch Faces, and Swing Detection, and Getting Paid for Your Social Posts, and Invisible Automatic Hashtags From Your Voice, and Mobile Live Streaming, and Email As A To Do List, and an Emotional AI Chat Bot.
But the one thing it has done is give me a bit of confidence in knowing that when the little hairs perk up on the back of my neck, it might be the beginning of something. The one that I’ve been experiencing but only recently have seen begin to reach a tipping point centers around the over-arching concept of health.
But before I delve into that, it might be worthwhile to talk a bit about why it’s even worth considering.
II. The Problem With Health
Remember back in school when you had to take health class and the best they could do was give you the food pyramid and the Presidential Fitness Test (23 sit-ups, 10 pull-ups, touch your toes = a perfect score).
Things have changed a lot since those days. We now know about the evils of gluten, carbs are the devil, organic is in, sugar is bad news, high fructose corn sizzurp is even worse, and fast food will retard your kid’s growth.
You need to stand once per hour, you need to track your steps, lift weights, run, do yoga, and breath or meditate a few times per day. You need to go to the doctor annually for a physical, start early cancer screening at a younger age, and live a stress-free life.
Taken together, this all sounds like some sort of impossible, Herculean feat. It’s tortuous, time consuming, and scary as hell. So we just push it to the side and give up.
III. The Feeling of Understanding Yourself
I want you to do a thought experiment for me. Imagine that you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and relaxed, ready to pounce out of bed and grab the day by the horns. Imagine after eating a big lunch, feeling alert and awake, even around 3pm without taking a single sip of caffeine. Imagine being excited for your daily workout because you feel strong and powerful. You can lift 20 more pounds than normal and you can run 1 mile farther. Imagine not having to worry about your body, either how it looks or what might be ailing it.
Isn’t that quite the dream? Well I think we might be reaching the point where it stops being a dream and starts becoming a reality.
IV. Introducing Health 2.0
At the highest conceptual level, my definition for this new trend is as follows:
Health 2.0 = Fitness + Food + Blood + DNA + AI
I can’t tell you exactly when it happened over the last few years, but at some point the pictures being posted to Instagram stopped being about mustaches and started being about fitness. With the relatively recent rise of Yoga and Crossfit, everyday people are getting more exercise than ever before, including early morning hug fests:
If you’ve read Phil Knight’s biography, then you understand the story about running and how novel a thing it was for humans to do. They helped the sport become mainstream and grew a brand and apparel company around it. Just do it wasn’t just a tagline. It was a manifesto.
Now, with the phenomenal popularity of yoga pants and more workers working from home, the fitness-casual apparel movement has begun to creep into our everyday lives. Throw on something Nike or Lululemon and you’ve got your attire for walking the dog, running errands, taking conference calls, and going to the gym. From day to gym to night. We may not end up getting “dressed up” any more except on a weekend night out.
But we may end up buying smart clothing from the likes of Apple and Nike, or even Under Armour that can do a lot more than just be self-cleaning. They may one day even afford us extra-human strength and protection from the environment, including the dirty air we breath (I’m looking at you, Manhattan).
Gluten free is everywhere. People are reading the labels to see if it contains sugar. Whole Foods, while expensive, is becoming more popular than ever. Fast casual restaurants, and even McDonald’s have moved beyond just salads, but have started introducing burgers without the buns. Even vegan restaurants now make burgers that are more delicious than the real thing.
People will go to the restaurant that gives them “a lot for a little” after they get done working out. They’re hungry, they want something healthy, they want to feel full, but they don’t want to ruin the “gains” they just made on the streets, in the gym, or in the studio. And they also don’t want to break the bank.
Below is a paper published last year describing describing how your blood sugar can affect how you make decisions. So, imagine that you just worked out, your blood sugar is low, and you go to the grocery store or try to respond to an email. You might end up doing something you regret. In short, you might be Hangry.
Did you also know that Pedialyte, Milk, and Orange Juice are not only more hydrating than water, but also put less strain on your kidneys (because it doesn’t have to produce as much urine)? It’s true, and this was a study done for everyday people who aren’t exercising, in order to get away from that variable affecting hydration.
You can now get your DNA sequenced for $199. That’s cheaper than an iPhone or an Apple Watch. I got mine done about 5 years ago from 23andMe (there’s 23 pairs of chromosomes making up the DNA that’s uniquely you). That’s the first step, to understand the code of how you are uniquely you.
The next step is being able to edit that code to improve our physical and mental well being. As Biotech becomes a bigger topic of conversation in the Valley and we begin prototyping and building organisms in lab-based foundries, we might one day begin to edit our own DNA right from an app on our phone.
Apple has version 1 of its Watch, that we know over time will begin to collect more measurements than just our heart rate through smart bands. All this data will be visualized to us from apps like Gyroscope.
And finally, once we have enough of this data on ourselves across food, fitness, air quality, blood, and DNA, we can then start to train deep and wide learning models to notify us when to slow down on the french fries, the booze, the extended working hours, or to pick up the pace in our fitness classes.
The best case, though, might be that it saves your life because it allows for early detection of the very specific type of cancer you may be susceptible to. Women are already having preventative masectomies.
Ideally this is all completely invisible to you. Maybe some nanobots swimming around your bloodstream constantly detecting your current state of health and communicating over the cellular network to train our own Personal Deep Learning AI model in an AWS, Google, or Apple data center somewhere. Or maybe on our own heavily encrypted, personal device.
It’s always watching, monitoring, and optimizing ourselves to live the healthiest, longest, and happiest life that we can. Now wouldn’t that be a breath of fresh air.
I guess the question you might be asking is why do I think all of these things will happen?
Well, first because I read a lot.
But second, because I’ve been describing myself and what I want. I’ve seen my own tastes and lifestyles change, even after living an athletic and healthy life for pretty much my entire life. As I get older, I’ve become even more conscious about the innerworkings of my body, the stress I put it under, and the type of fuel I put into it.
And I would love for some magical product to come out that takes care of all of these things for me. Something that combines all five of these things into keeping my machine in perfect working order.
Health 2.0 = Fitness + Food + Blood + DNA + AI
from Sean Everett on Medium http://ift.tt/29vpBvv