Tuesday 16 January 2018

Thanks to tech optimisation, I no longer need other humans

Woody Allen in 'Sleeper', his movie about a man who is cryogenically frozen in 1973 and defrosted 200 years later
Woody Allen in 'Sleeper', his movie about a man who is cryogenically frozen in 1973 and defrosted 200 years later

When you wake up, it's 6am, you think. You're not sure, so you ask Alexa. It's 6.15  -  you must have asked for some snooze time. You are late to start your fully optimised day. You didn't sleep well last night, according to your smart mattress. Lots of tossing and turning. Uneven heart rate. Maybe too much coffee the day before.

You got divorced two years ago. Marriage wasn't optimal. All the studies show it adds to your stress. Anyway, it's just a social construct.

You need a more space-efficient mattress now. Maybe it's time for a Casper.

You have a kid. She is asleep. You check the UrbanSitter app to make sure your nanny is on his way.

He shows up 45 seconds late. You are slightly irritated  -  you will monitor him extra close today on your Nest cams. Thank goodness you don't have to interact with your kid today. The opportunity cost of your time is too high.

You ask your smart blinds to open. You love the summer sunlight. Time to take in some vitamin D. You were concerned from your last physical that your D levels were low. Too much time in the office. You recently switched to a standing desk, which allows for a better view and a better angle for more sun rays.

You weigh yourself on your smart scale. Your BMI is a little higher than yesterday. Shit. Not good.

You may have to work out for 33 seconds longer today. Time to get going. You put on your Lumo smart running shorts. You are a little upset because on your run yesterday your ground-contact cadence time was off. You never played a sport in high school or college, but you are super-happy you got into running and competition now. It makes you a fully rounded person.

You can train with the running team from your large tech company and use the time optimally to make friends and bond on a deeper level. This is what intimacy and connection are all about. On cycling day, you all joke about how you rank on Strava. True friendship.

You walk out the door. You lock your front door using your August Smart Lock app. Secure. Safe. You brought your Apple watch and your Fitbit today because you are excited to triangulate to see which is more accurate in terms of step count. You are also going to count steps in your head as a sanity check.

Finally, you're running. Sunlight, breeze. Your AirPods blare the latest Malcolm Gladwell podcast. He's so smart. So insightful. Ten thousand hours of practice. That's what it will take for you to be great. You are on hour 461 of running. Not long to go till you'll be great.

Back at the house. Time to hustle. Your coffee maker made three-fourths of one cup of coffee for you. Perfect. You don't want to drink too much caffeine. The pH level in your body may be thrown out of whack.

You can't wait till the Apple Watch can measure that. When can you get access to the beta?

You call an Uber. You sold your car months ago. Uber is cheaper than car ownership. You've done the math.

The spreadsheets show that car ownership makes no sense. Neither does owning a house. Nor does owning really anything. Ownership is for suckers.

You spend the time during your 12-minute drive watching an Udemy course. Time to sharpen those skills. Have to stay competitive in today's workforce. Today you learn about growth hacking.

You arrive at work. You don't check e-mail in the morning. Tim Ferriss says not to. Have to stay optimal. You meditate using the Headspace app. Relief. Your mind is clear. Now you can work. But first you need to put on some music. Studies show that classical music is the best to listen to.

You put it on. You feel at ease. Now it's time to work. You open Facebook and Twitter on two of your browser tabs.

You keep a small window open to watch your child being raised by someone else.

You fill your smart water bottle throughout the day. Have to drink enough water to stay properly hydrated. You aren't drinking enough compared to Steve. Damn. Have to catch up. You have to pee. You time it.

Taking too long. Maybe your kidneys aren't functioning properly. You schedule a doctor's appointment on Zocdoc.

You check your security cameras at home again. The gardener is cleaning your front yard. You can't focus. You want to make sure he's working efficiently for the €15 per hour you are paying him. Shit. He missed cutting a shrub. What a lazy piece of shit. You turn on your smart sprinklers. Maybe he'll know you are watching. A reminder pops up that you need to replenish your plant soil. Tomorrow, maybe. There is not enough time.

Lunch is for losers. You drink a Soylent. It's perfectly balanced. You feel nourished. No irritants. Have to limit those.

Time for an afternoon plank. Have to keep the core strong. You put on your smart yoga pants. They show that your pose is slightly off. Shit. More practice. Ten thousand hours. You're not far.

You've managed a few e-mails today. Good for you. You should limit the amount of work you do. Stress can ruin your lifestyle and make you age faster. Manage.

Maybe you could have one of your employees work on your non-essential tasks. The goal of work is to get to Inbox Zero. Then send a tweet. It's all an elaborate game.

When you e-mail your co-worker Jackie, you notice your heart rate spike on the Apple Watch. Better not email her anymore. The stress is shortening your life.

You meet a friend for happy hour. Have to keep it efficient. Thirty minutes max. You chat, exchange pleasantries. You are very interesting.

You keep the conversation level high and non-controversial. Be politically correct. No one likes controversy. It's not optimal.

On your Uber drive back home, you respond to some text messages. And some e-mails from your family. You can't spend longer than 27 minutes on these types of tasks. You use Gmail's artificially intelligent auto-responders as much as you can. Not everyone needs a highly personalised response. It's not necessary.

The thumbs-up emoji is perfect for most conversations. It's a positive expression of emotion and usually stops the conversation.

After watching an hour of TV, you get ready for dinner. More than an hour of screen time is bad at night. You've been staring at your laptop, phone and security cameras all day.

Your Plated dinner arrives. Precooked ingredients. Efficient.

Your TaskRabbit shows up on time to prepare the meal. Ten minutes. No carbs. Have to stay slim. Hopefully, that BMI number goes down tomorrow.

Your kid hasn't said a word all day but seems to enjoy the meal. UrbanSitter puts him to bed. Goodnight.

Time for a few minutes on dating apps. Not too much time, though. Maybe you'll find someone you love. Maybe not tonight. Maybe love is inefficient. Maybe it's not scientifically possible.

You rest your head in bed. You check your heart rate. You check your data for the day. You are good.

When you wake up tomorrow, that BMI number will be down. Your heart rate will be perfect.

You call out to Alexa to turn off the lights. It's not working. You try again. What the f**k? You stand up. You walk three feet.

You turn off the light switch. It works. You remember what human touch feels like.

Sunil Rajaraman is co-founder of Scripted.com and chief executive of The Bold Italic. This column first appeared on medium.com/@subes01

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