Thanks to tech op­ti­mi­sa­tion, I no longer need other hu­mans

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK - Sunil Ra­jara­man

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 three­fourths 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 nonessen­tial 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 au­tore­spon­ders 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 and chief ex­ec­u­tive of The Bold Italic. This col­umn first ap­peared on subes01

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

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