This post is motivated by an interesting newsletter that came in for Apple Watch. The premise of the argument is that it could monitor the sleep apnoea (by monitoring the sleep cycles).
I am not sure what the accumulated data could mean for the companies and in what way it would be quantified. There are enough indications that a correlation of the credit histories (through Apple Pay), financial instruments through subscription histories, and the rough estimates about the living lifestyles could be surmised from the buying trends on the Apple marketplace. It is surprising that Apple isn’t being called as a marketplace in the strict legal parlance and they are “escaping scrutiny” on multiple fronts.
Besides, wellness is creeping into the healthcare terminology. I am all for the advance of the consumer grade technology into the medical field, but it is critical (and essential) to understand its ramifications. Concentration of data is not welcome.
What is more troubling is that how the universities are getting preferential access to conduct the studies? Who is bankrolling the apple watches and the subjects? I won’t be surprised if it appears in NEJM with the usual stupid disclaimers about no conflicts of interest to declare, but it would give enough cardiologists to brandish their credentials in glitzy conferences. A NEJM paper appears to give them a stamp of approval for the FDA certifications.
For Apple, it is a small investment to make with potentially huge gains. Marketing won’t explicitly say that Apple watches are being used to monitor the sick patients, but who will assume responsibility when people buy these devices and hurt themselves? I won’t be surprised again if the users end up getting their data dumps and claim that they aren’t getting enough sleep because their watches say so.
There are clever ways to use the technology, but Apple’s efforts are bordering on the insane. I will not buy their argument, but I am curious about the future course of events.
Technology isn’t dystopian unless the end users understand that they are just user ID’s. Apple collects all data and ascribes you one and charges you good money to generate data from you. The next iPhone will definitely have soke medical quality and I’ll be bracing myself to see its benefits.
Very smart and devious!