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The Future of Digital Wellness Mark Ostach

Ever wonder what our digital life will look like in the year 2034? It includes a generation of young adults called “dippies” aka ‘digital hippies’ that don’t use smartphones. And for those that use smartphone, The Apple 27-Z uses biometrics to lock you out if you’re too stressed.

PREDICTIONS FROM THE PAST

The cover of TIME Magazine in 1965 featured predictions of how computers will impact the future of our economy and our way of life.

IBM Economist, Joseph Froomkin, went on record saying, “Automation will eventually bring about a 20-hour work week, perhaps within a century, thus creating a mass leisure class.” A 20-hour work week! That’s a far cry from where we are in 2019!

THE DIGITAL INVASION

One of my favorite TED talks was by Adam Alter that discussed why our screen time makes us less happy. Over the past 10 years, Alter demonstrates how our personal space (defined as the time spent beyond working, sleeping, & eating) has been invaded by our screens and social media as depicted in the red area below. The yellow time indicates our endangered ‘personal time’.

Our personal time is what defines our sense of self. Our hobbies, interests, and times of reflection are invaded by social media and smartphones. But this is old news and something I’ve talked about for the past decade. What I’m interested in now is turning the corner to begin sharing what the future of digital wellness looks like.

THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL WELLNESS

I recently shared my predictions on the future of digital wellness at Oakland University as I give my 2nd TED talk. I can feel a shift rising against the digital invasion we’ve been swallowed into over the past 15 years. I’m confident that digital wellness is on the rise.

In the past year alone Google, Apple, and Facebook have begun to establish their views on digital wellness and ways their future products and platforms will be more human centered.

Thought leaders throughout the world have begun discussing digital citizenship and the ethical arguments that will shape policy around the Internet and our device usage. So how does this groundswell in digital wellness shape our future?

MY PREDICTIONS

Imagine yourself 15 years from now. The year is 2034. Apple just released the iPhone 27-Z (with new charging adaptors of course!). Here is what digital wellness looks like in America…

My children and half of their friends don’t have smartphones in College. Referred to as ‘dippies’ (aka digital hippies), this group of young adults find more purpose in nature and relationships then they do in breaking news and taking selfies. After witnessing epidemic levels of depression, anxiety, and suicide among their parents, they realized that it’s not worth it to be connected all the time.

The government is beginning to pilot communication policies within certain industries. These pilot policies include:

  • Sending a maximum of 5 emails a day per employee. Going over your quota can be considered ‘email abuse’, a violation your organization can write you up for.
  • The workday ends at 4:00 p.m and all devices stay at the office. This was influenced by a study from Harvard that showed healthy family structure is the #1 indicator to economic development and low crime rates. People leave work and go home to their families, friends, and hobbies.

Google has developed a smartphone that locks you out of it if your too stressed. Fueled by astronomical levels of exhaustion and burnout, Google responded by creating a camera system that uses biometrics to measure stress and anxiety in the user. It’s helped smartphone addicts curb their addiction by 50%.

Facebook and LinkedIn have merged platforms as a response to the increase in remote workforce and purpose economy demanding a more human centered work-life experience. (ps. 90% of Facebook users are 50 years and older).

SMOKING, SEAT BELTS, AND RECYCLING

Here are three reasons why my predictions may be heading in the right direction:

  1. Smoking was at an all time high in the 1940’s. It’s been said that Generation Alpha (after Gen Z) will end smoking all together.
  2. Seat Belts weren’t required in cars until 1964. There were 50 years of driving since the Model-T was launched that didn’t include seat belts!
  3. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. This was a campaign launched in the early 90’s when I was in middle school. I had to train my parents on why recycling was vital to the future of our environment. Now it’s second nature to recycle.

YOUR DIGITAL WELLNESS

Do my predictions sounds as foolish as a 20-hour work week? Maybe? Maybe not!

As we continue to press into the future of digital wellness, I encourage you to raise your awareness on how the content you view each day shapes your thought life and overall health.

Doing so can breakthrough the ways in which content shapes our reality, and allows us to look inward for our sense of purpose and worth. This my friends, is the most sacred part of being a warm blooded creature, not a cold blooded device. Here’s to the future of Digital Wellness!

IN THE NEWS

I had the chance of being interviewed on the ‘Rise of Digital Wellness in The Workplace’. Check out the brief segment below or here.

“The purpose of thinking about the future is not to predict it but to raise people’s hopes.” — Freeman Dyson

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU

I’m looking to gather stories of people who have had an impact from the work I’ve been doing around digital wellness. If you have any feedback, experiences, or a shift in your digital habits, I want to hear from you! Please reach out to me here.