Chris Dancy, who tracks and quantifies himself to the extreme, may not be exactly our future, but a significant amount of what is true in his life will become true in ours. Settling on common standards for the Internet of Things is an obstacle, but it only takes a single great product like the iPod or the iPhone to bring clarity. Apple and Google, meanwhile, are in a race to create the preeminent smarthome technology. We will be measured whether we want to be or not. The opening of Samantha Murphy Kelly’s Mashable article “The Most Connected Man Is You, Just a Few Years From Now“:
“DENVER, Colorado — Chris Dancy, the self-described ‘most connected guy in the world,’ reclines in a throne in the corner of his home office. The walls around him are a scrapbook of his life, pinned with foreign currency, concert tickets and pictures of his icons, like Michael Jackson and Andy Warhol.
In between stories of his travels, he mentions his newfound Internet fame. He has been thrown into the spotlight for using between 300 and 700 tracking and lifelogging systems at all times, from the fitness wristband Fitbit to the Beddit mattress cover.
But then the conversation shifts to his childhood, a time when Dancy (now 45) and his family struggled to make ends meet. While describing his mother’s role in helping them through a difficult time, he closes his eyes and cuts himself off. The lights in the room have started to flicker. It’s the only moment all day where you can hear a pin drop.
The blinking lights are a visual reminder for Dancy to slow down and focus on his breathing. The lights, like so many aspects of his unassuming, cozy home, are connected to the devices he wears; in this case, they sense his heart rate is up and signal it’s time for him to calm down. Similarly, classical music plays throughout the house if he loses his temper.
By looking at his data, he’s learned exactly what he needs to be his most productive self, such as setting the lights to a specific shade or programming the air levels in his bedroom so he can sleep soundly. He’s even monitored his heart rate while watching porn to become more aware of his sexual preferences: ‘I thought I was into certain types of people, but learned what I actually like most.’ He’s also lost more than 100 pounds along the way, just by tracking his daily habits and making small changes to be healthier.
Even his dogs are tracked; a product called Tagg logs their daily activities.
He’s been called everything from a cyborg to an alien for his extreme data collection routines, but Dancy is the future tech experts say is coming.
Dancy is the ultimate example of two revolutions underway in tech: the Internet of Things (smart thermostats, garage doors, toothbrushes, tennis racquets) and quantified self (what you learn about yourself from trackers). Apple and Google are the two biggest companies expanding their efforts in the ‘smart home’ market, which is projected to bring $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, according to Gartner Research.”