Courtesy of Bitbop
Clockwise from top left: Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS + Music, Garmin Virb 360, Logitech Bluetooth Speaker, Bitbop
Your life–how well you walk, run, sleep, eat and do the thousands of other things it takes to live, exercise, love and do your job–is one of the biggest assets you have. Knowing your overall well-being and individual habits through big data, platforms such as the online fitness-tracking firm Bitbop can help you achieve your most important goals. Data can be used to improve your life by making it more efficient, educated and accountable.
Bitbop listens to you, asks permission to share what you're listening to with your followers and actively helps you achieve and understand your goals. A core Bitbop module analyzes your music selections. This allows Bitbop to tap the power of new music to improve your listening habits. A breakdown of your music library, all rated by Bitbop, can give you insights about your listening habits that you'd never know were a secret until your colleague pointed them out. You can customize Bitbop to give a text alert when you have two songs in a row you've missed. This kind of one-tap recognition is powerful, since we spend a lot of time with our phones and wear them a lot. Bitbop reduces those decisions by three-quarters to a tenth of a second per moment (so that you'd spend an extra one second a year just to stay in good listening habits).
Bitbop can tell you which songs to listen to in small increments over weeks or months to catch any trends. The full impact of Bitbop's music-listening insights depends on your listening habits, but the payoff can feel amazing. It can give you a better sense of the path to your goals and your daily course or trigger a new goal. Bitbop has invited athletes, athletes' families and participants in scientific studies to connect with them to learn how Bitbop can be applied to their lives, goals and programs.
It is true that things can be summed up in terms of a few key numbers. For example, your step count for the day may be between 150 and 170. Another measure might be how many hours you sleep each night, how many calories you burn (if you don't need to cook) or how many days you finish each month. And there is a tendency to listen to the less interesting numbers. Some days I find myself as shocked as anyone at the amount of points logged on one day. Even the "superfit" measures on Bitbop will tell you some of the more boring details about yourself, and this can be comforting, too.
Success can be measured by assessing at how far you've come, even though it's based on a limited number of things. Four-foot-8 Frederick Douglass, 1788-1877, once told us, "I may have been born small, but I am" mighty. I'm just trying to touch.
This story is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, visit the Future Tense blog and the Future Tense home page.