by Alex Storm @alexstromtmt
We live in a world where people track everything! People use apps to track their steps, their calorie intake, their time wasted on facebook, their spending, their heart rates, their sleep patterns, and more. A new device, the SexFit, which helps men monitor their erections and thrusts per minute, is even slated to be on the market soon. There’s hardly a piece of data from our lives that we cannot track through a phone or device if we so desire. The concept of tracking is not new. It’s been recommended for decades as a simple, effective way to become conscious of habits and build new habits. However, with the breaking news of the SexFit and other wearable devices springing out of the Fitbit crazed market, I have to ask, are there areas of our lives that we shouldn’t track? Are there any habits or practices in our lives that we should keep private? This is not to say that all the tracking apps don’t promise some degree of confidentiality on paper. It’s just that there is no true confidentiality when you have data in the cloud or traveling through wifi channels.
As stated, tracking can be a valuable tool to build new habits, but it’s a whole other ballgame when we, as fully functioning humans, must rely on devices for feedback about how we’re doing at life. We don’t need an app to tell us that the donut we had for breakfast was full of empty calories. We don’t need an app to tell us that we are not spending our money wisely. We don’t need a pedometer to tell us that we don’t get enough exercise. Men don’t need devices to tell them if they are performing up to par sexually. There is a person right beside them who could give them feedback in that department. I shudder at the image of a dissatisfied girlfriend listening to her boyfriend boasting about his sexual performance according to his SexFit. The point is we know how we are doing at life. We just enjoy having some imaginary accountability because we struggle to hold ourselves accountable.
Where should we draw the line though? Is there a point where we should say, “I know what I need to do better, and I don’t need an app to tell me. I will just do better.” Would people draw the line at the app that tells them (and adds to the cloud) the number of times they have flatulence issues so they will eat less raw broccoli? Would people draw the line at an app where they report to their online community about how much they drink alcohol or consume mind altering substances? Would people draw the line because of a fear of their government having access to this personal information or because they want to maintain some level of dignity within their community of friends?
In the 21st century, our society has willingly made the choice to carry around devices that track our every move, and we chose to fill them with detailed information about our private lives. Not to say that those who have access to all of this information would use it maliciously, but it’s interesting to consider how people have become more and more comfortable putting every iota of personal data into the cloud, all the way down to their heart rates, sleep patterns, and sexual habits. What’s worth keeping private in 2016?