Are we drunk on data?

Greetings from Stockholm.

I was just reviewing a slide presentation by one of our superstar summer biomedical engineering students, Pooja Rajguru. In our SALSA/iCAMP labs, under the direction of Bijan Najafi, she has shown that doing more than two things at a time (i.e. walking and talking on a phone) has profound impacts on our gait and motion patterns. In essence, as we add more data, we are walking impaired– data drunk if you will.  This is no different to texting while driving– except that the scenario and dangers might be modified.

While I don’t know where these data will lead us, I think the overarching philosophy will have profound effects on how we learn to design and interact with new gadgets. For example, will new Google glasses (which I will be first in line to buy, mind you) add or detract from this “data drunkenness”? Will people who are more unsteady in their gait at baseline be at greater risk for further unsteadiness when deluged with more information? Food (or beverage) for thought…

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