da•ta rash \ˈdātə ˈrash\, n. an irritating or unsightly eruption of information on the wrist or other site of wearable technology.
We find the idea of data rash to be extremely compelling, so we’re featuring a series of posts in which IoT usability expert (and our emerging platforms advisor) Josh Clark dives into the idea. This is the final post 6 of 6.
The wearables world often uses the familiar but unfortunate language of science fiction to describe its smart devices: they “augment” or “enhance”, they are prosthetics, bionics, even cyborg extensions. This language emphasizes the technology, not the human being wearing it.
Technology should bend to our lives instead of vice versa. Instead of using the cold and creepy terms of enhancement or augmentation, I suggest wearables should aim to amplify our humanity. They should let us be who we already are, only more so. They should give us greater control, mastery, and understanding over our environment and ourselves. They should reinforce connections with the people we love and the places we visit, instead of isolating us under a torrent of data. They should draw us into the world instead of drawing our eyes to a screen.
We are suddenly awash in data, with the fresh possibility of wearing devices that are able to capture, process, and report that data. Like previous eras of technology, we’ll make missteps as we learn to use this newly abundant raw resource. We’ll sometimes create interfaces that overwhelm or irritate with the effects of data pollution and information poisoning. But if we can focus first on human needs and natural interaction, we can soothe the occasional data rash and promote healthy insight instead.
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