Tag Archives: augmentation

Redundancy, Enhancement and the Purpose of Physiological Computing


There has been a lot of tweets and blogs devoted to an article written recently by Don Norman for the MIT Technology Review on wearable computing.  The original article is here, but in summary, Norman points to an underlying paradox surrounding Google Glass etc.  In the first instance, these technological artifacts are designed to enhance human abilities (allowing us to email on the move, navigate etc.), however, because of inherent limitations on the human information processing system, they have significant potential to degrade aspects of human performance.  Think about browsing Amazon on your glasses whilst crossing a busy street and you get the idea.

The paragraph in Norman’s article that caught my attention and is most relevant to this blog is this one.

Eventually we will be able to eavesdrop on both our own internal states and those of others. Tiny sensors and clever software will infer their emotional and mental states and our own. Worse, the inferences will often be wrong: a person’s pulse rate just went up, or their skin conductance just changed; there are many factors that could cause such things to happen, but technologists are apt to focus upon a simple, single interpretation.”

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