The Age of Context boasts the wonders of the five forces and their vital role in improving our lives and communities. The forces — mobile, social media, data, sensors, and location– have already changed the spectrum and landscape in providing connectivity and sociability to everyone with a mobile phone. But what about those who struggle to afford smart devices, data services, and app services that may help keep them more informed, safer and healthier? Take for instance the revolutionary capabilities found in 3D modeling and cloud services, the authors discuss how using these technologies may allow for more collaboration between city planners and people who reside in urban areas (urbanists) to plan customizable spaces to meet their specific needs. My thoughts wandered to those who don’t have the access or connectivity to seek out this information or perhaps have never been sought for input. Only those with knowledge and access will offer input and thus the development and plan will be customized to the lifestyle and level of the more privileged. Exacerbating further the effects of gentrification on the disadvantaged.
In areas where health access is sparse and in our current times of uncertainty regarding health coverage, the idea of contextual health could be the most effective and impactful. The authors make a very astute point that the medical industry has yet to embrace advances in technology that would allow patients to more accurately diagnose and treat themselves and they attribute this hesitation to the possible risk of losing money, by not having patients undergo costly labs and exams under their watch. This current limitation in costs and in accessing health monitoring technology puts many at a disadvantage in taking control of their own bodies and health.
In an interview a few days ago about the proposed Obamacare replacement plan, Utah House Representative Jason Chaffetz said that low income Americans may need to choose between the new iPhone and health coverage. Making such assertion denotes that low income Americans should not have same tools to get by in the modern world. Smartphones are the primary way for many to access the internet and are used to maintain their jobs and connections to their family and friends. My concern is that leaders like Chaffetz, the current political climate, and the affordability of new technology will continue to disenfranchise the most vulnerable.
Access to the right equipment/services for the benefit of making our lives better is a wondrous privilege. Smart wearable technology can certainly be seen as a mode of empowerment for every human. The challenge that I see would be in making access to these revolutionary tools more of a human right than a privilege for the few.