The cultural meme and theme @CES2018 was #Whoa!!!
Indeed, Whoa- Look at all the cool technology. Whoa-check out the lightning speed at which these innovative ideas seem to be traveling and disrupting one another across the IT marketplace. Whoa-How extraordinary that smart technology has already (quietly, almost stealth-fully) integrated itself into every aspect of our work-live-play-lives. Whoa- Isn’t it high time to slow down, take a pause, and reflect for a moment on the massive tidal wave of IT- AI-AR-VR-IOS products and technologies we are creating, for what purpose, to serve what end, to create what legacy???
The CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Global Stage for Innovation has grown over the last 50 years to become the world’s mecca— driving the Digital Age with over 20,000 new product launches, 4015 exhibitors, and 170,000 attendees from 150 countries at this Mega-7 Location event in Las Vegas. Imagine the extraordinary ecosystem of innovators and teams representing breakthrough technologies amounting to a $292 Billion USD marketplace of opportunity (CTA: Consumer Technology Association). Indeed, it is awesome. Whoa! And, Whoa, let’s take a pause…. and explore a few of the technologies I saw at CES focused on reinforcing and supporting our natural intelligence- our health and wellness in the workplace.
How to Surf and Survive the AI Tidal Wave of Change
First, I believe our best positive, pro-active offense to dispelling the fears of an undesirable AI/Robot-dominated world that as Stephen Hawkins posits: “will spell the end of the human race.”… is to create a parallel re-awakening and positive evolution of our human natural intelligence in train with AI’s inevitable integration into many aspects of our lives and work. While I can appreciate what Mehdi Miremadi (partner at McKinsey & Company) claimed at WEF in Davos 2018 about the future of positive human+machine relationships being based on cooperation, instead of rivalry; I do NOT believe that the human+machine relationship is “the name of the game”, as she states (WEF 2018). I believe that strengthening, deepening, and enriching our human+human and human+nature and human+nature+human relationships are of most central and of critical importance now. AI can make human lives easier, healthier (especially with self-monitoring health tools, like Fitbit, iHealth & Eyeque), safer, and more productive; but NOT necessarily more compassionate, inclusive, thoughtful, flexible, spontaneous, intuitive…
Awakening Natural Intelligence Where We Live-Work-Play
For this, we need to Awaken Our Natural Intelligence. Again, natural intelligence to me is that innate intelligence- the creative voice that lives inside each of us and is our unique signature in the world. It is that human+human bond of compassion and our shared universal myth, that although expressed in different ways, through different culture traditions, norms, and values…essentially circles us back to the same core, shared truth On Being Human. It is that human+nature bond that ties us to the rest of life in the biosphere and that reminds us that we are all essentially dependent on the health of our planet, our earthly home for our own survival. We are of the earth. There is no Plan B or Planet B for our species to survive and thrive.
Thus, the name of the NI/AI collaboration game is to awaken the dreamers, the artists, the inventors within each of us. The name of our future’s live-work-play game is to continue to create alongside AI-enabled technologies, tools and techniques to optimize our health, wellbeing, and ability as humans to: think critically, remain curious, create openly, innovate out-of-box, pivot when necessary, inspire and collaborate with others, increase our ability to listen, seek discovery, discern right outcomes with compassion and consciousness for what benefits our Human+Nature+Human interdependent connection.
Technologies at CES 2018 to Lead us into a More Healthy NI/AI Future
Amidst the Whoa of CES 2018, I gravitated toward the technologies that had potential to reinforce and to regenerate our natural intelligence (Human+Nature+Human connection), to improve the overall wellness of the places we live-work-play; and to enhance our personal and communal health and well-being, allowing humanity to show up in the world in our best suits and as our best selves.
On Wellness within Human Spaces, virtual assistance was omnipresent with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assist (take your pick) monitoring and maintaining comfortable air circulation, natural light, temperature, soundscape, … inside smart I(We)-Homes. Environment is important and next door, BreezoMeter offered products to corporate clients that collected, validated, modeled and forecasted outdoor air quality along with urban heat maps at a regional scale to compare quality of life in different world cities. Along the water front, Conway produced and presented water quality maps, comparing salinity, particulate levels, and chemical pollutant concentrations in different bioregional waterways around the world. Both companies and their research efforts were geared toward informing and educating customers on the health of our outdoor environment. All good. Exciting also, BreezoMeter discovered a business model for generating and analyzing more spatially granular, real-time information about ambient air and water quality for clients, like- luxury beauty brands L’Oreal and Sephora whose skincare products are affected by the environment. Yes, super important, but only the first step toward improving our indoor-outdoor air and water environmental quality.
The next natural step would be for BreezoMeter and/or other companies in their ecosystem to present solutions toward course-correcting increasing air-water pollution found in major, growing Megatropolises where 80% of the world population will soon live. Product solutions for the moment from Conway, Aquamega, Phillips, and others are mostly focused on filtering outdoor air, purifying indoor air, and filtering external water sources in optimized ways; so as to increase the air and water quality inside human spaces. Awesome that these companies continue to advance purification technologies that optimize our health in our urban bubbles since indoor air can be nearly 5-10 times more toxic than outdoor air given off-gassing from carpets, paints etc. in standard design Human Spaces. And, I would hate to see that our creative intelligence stopped at the threshold of our home and office doors. So, while CES is not an urban planning, clean technology forum focused on the collective outdoor commons, I hope to see more integrated, indoor-outdoor air systematic problem-solving innovations at CES 2019. Why? Technology addressing the root problems of human-caused pollution in our natural environment—beyond monitoring the problem outdoors and limiting the solution indoors; I believe would have an extraordinary, additive, positive impact on our overall health both individually and collectively. Especially as outdoor air, water, land quality continues in many places to degrade toward a critical environmental threshold and poison the Human+Nature connection. If we are to awaken, refresh, regenerate our Natural Intelligence—optimize our lives and reinforce our relevance in an immanent AI world; then we are going to need technology to help us stay well, even in an urban jungle where most of us will live.
Meanwhile, other health and wellness solutions in the workplace showed up and shined again at CES 2018. Humanscale was back, promoting workspaces that move you and that move with you. They were not alone this year, as the interest and demand for improving the ergonomics and quality of the workspace at home and in the office (e.g. stand-sit desks, chairs, and environments) has become more desirable and more clearly responsible for higher company ROIs. Again there were others in the ergonomic office marketplace with more autonomous elements. And that said, I resonated most with Humanscale as a company, as they continue to be committed to designing products for humans with the expressed purpose of enhancing and improving our ability as humans to think critically, work effectively, concentrate fully, and make higher quality decisions. I see their products as infinitely additive to our Naturally Intelligent future.
Another company I found essential to our Natural Intelligence narrative was NuCalm, whose soul purpose I discovered is to protect one of our most precious assets as humans- what Dr. Blake Holloway calls our Brain Trust. Probably 1000’s of people bravely took the plunge into NuCalm’s meditation experience, and NuCalm was all the rave at CES. To the un-initiated, the 15 + minute relaxation nature audio track seemed”quite interesting”. To the open-minded experimentalist, the relaxation seemed “quite relaxing and cool”. To the avid meditation practitioner, the relaxation seemed to “energize chakras and create a new calm”. And at NuCalm, Dr. Blake Holloway, the creator of NuCalm—drawing on 30+ years in applied pyschobiology and neuropsychobiology, shared with me that the real impact of NuCalm for all of us, whether we know it or not, is on our brain’s neurochemistry. More than a beautiful audio track; the NuCalm system comes complete with a naturopath amino acid complex and micro current stimulant that works on the midbrain to interrupt the body’s natural stress response and to recalibrate the brain’s neurochemistry back to a naturally intelligent homeostatic state. Said differently, the NuCalm system of nature soundtracks+supplements+electro-stimulation sets our mind-body to earth’s resonance, which is naturally aligned with our natural being. In essence, NuCalm was designed to help us feel better, perform better, and live better lives; so we can be our most creative, intuitive, conscious, sharp-performing… Naturally Intelligent selves.
“Sadly, we are losing our intra-psychic connection to the natural world and this is the greatest threat to creative, conscious human evolution. ”Dr. Blake Holloway
Beyond NuCalm, technologies that refresh, recalibrate, rejuvenate were definitely a dominant theme and cultural meme throughout CES 2018. Thus, I also found massage chair ecosystems popping up around every exhibition corner. Certainly this was fortunate for me, as I felt it essential to experience each and every uniquely designed chair in order to offer my best, authentic analysis of them for you. Ha! Here’s what I found. First, corporate concierge massage is now a Thing in Silicon Valley. So, if you are an experienced massage therapist, acupuncture specialist; you might want to consider (if you haven’t already) this new market. Second, the autonomous massage chair technologies- complete with rollers and pressure controllers are now so far advanced for many companies at CES that I found if I closed my eyes, I often felt a real person was actually massaging my back-arms-feet. And, that makes sense if one considers that INADA was established over 50 years ago by Nichimu Inada, a world-renown Shiatsu master.The innovation and evolution of this elite market has had time to grow, massage, and differentiate. That said, only INADA masterfully works its Shiatsu magic. But other companies like Infinity are rising fast and delivering a diverse range of customized and automated massage therapies across modalities for the new corporate relaxation rooms. So, combine massage technologies with IT that creates peace at work; such as noise-cancellation headphones and custom ear-fitting devices, like Snugs… and work stress seems to be melting away in many corporate work environments. We are far from there, but indeed, we are on our way toward creating work environments where humans can thrive, not just survive… and this is very exciting.
On that same note and beyond IT in support of personal natural intelligence; I discovered also at CES the most boisterous, colorful, and compelling example of technology in service to the human workforce as a whole, one who clearly celebrates the creative collective intelligence of a company —Klaxoon. Behind their bright pink presentation, honking horns, and self-published/clever self-promoting newspaper; the Klaxoon company upon closer look, is truly committed to designing tools for teams that optimize the experience, output, and inclusivity of working group meetings. Imagine: what if we did work differently?…What if an idea, question, or challenge was put on the virtual team table and everyone (anonymous or not) had the opportunity, real-time to respond visually and virtually? What if the ideation process more highly visual, inviting, and fun; wouldn’t our output reflect higher quality, greater, more authentic participation? I believe so, so three honks in support of the Klaxoon Meeting Revolution!
Finally, and actually first; I found that the alpha-omega of wellness in the workplace isn’t even really found in the workplace or at work, at all. Huh? Pete Bils of Sleep Number convinced me at CES that the future of health and wellness lies in the bedroom and that Sleep is Number One. And that makes perfect sense. Think about it. If we spend 33% of our lifetime asleep in bed and if deep sleep (REM) is the space and place where our bodies naturally intelligently recalibrate, repair, and refresh; then sleep is Number One for optimally preparing us for a focused day at work and for improving the quality of our lives- asleep and awake. Thus, Sleep Number was easily one of my most favorite advanced technologies at CES 2018. Imagine a 360 smart bed that uses responsive air technology to sense your micro-movements when asleep and automatically adjust firmness, comfort, support to optimize deep sleep. How advanced is that? Then, imagine deploying SleepIQ®- a touch-less, biometric sensor technology that tracks personal sleep data during the night—capturing literally 100’s of measurements per second and over 4 billion biometric data points from heart rate to breath rate to generate a target sleeper’s Sleep Number score and sleep quality analysis. Amazing? Further, combined with Fitness trackers (Fitbit®, MapMyRun™, Microsoft® Health, Withings Health Mate™) while awake; one can monitor and evaluate sleep and fitness patterns to then adjust behavior that optimizes one’s overall wellness that also, ultimately drives one’s ability to concentrate, react, create, interact. So now we just have to take that sleep information and sleep-run-work with it in new ways, so we awaken our natural intelligence- show up to life-work-play in a refreshed way. Whoa, right!?