Keep on smiling! If you can… [The New York Times]
Reviews can be deadly for any company, especially in the healthcare sector. But one medical company is taking the battle against criticism a bit too far. A U.S. startup, that sells tailored teeth aligners cheaper than if you would get them directly from an orthodontist, has been actively discouraging negative comments on their products. When customers are not satisfied with their products and request a refund, SmileDirectClub would offer to pay them back on the condition of signing a non-disclosure agreement. With health services being more frequently digitalized, reviews online are more important for potential customers to make an informed decision. You want to know the good, the bad and the ugly before you fix your smile, right?
Wrap up and reduce your screen-time [The Verge]
For better or worse – all of us are constantly checking our phones. However, the ever-faithful Google is here to save us! Alongside traditional digital well-being apps using on-screen visuals, this time they’re also coming with a particularly brilliant idea; queue the ‘Envelope’ app. The idea is simple – download the app and you get a simple screen allowing you to make calls, read the time and nothing more. The genius here however is the printable PDF ‘envelope’ that is glued shut over your device, to highlight the minimalist screen. A good idea, but perhaps it’s easier to simply put the phone away for a while.
Health, your data and what can be done with it [Financial Times]
Google made it clear: its ambition is to use technology to transform healthcare. Their ultimate goal is to save billions of years of life in 2020. But they aren’t the only company that has access to our hyper personal data. Apple designed a watch to improve the users’ cardiovascular health, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies use Microsoft’s cloud services and Facebook has created tools for healthcare screenings. So, isn’t it too late to have second thoughts? The data is needed to foster innovation, but it is also very sensitive information that needs to be handled with care. Should we keep on going as we are or should we close all the doors on what tech can offer us? It’s not a black-or-white answer.
The answer that more data will solve many of the world’s problems can seem like naïve and idealistic, but in some instances, it really is the case. Take public transport – most systems are designed for male travelers, disregarding women, disabled people etc. Worldwide, women are often in caregiver roles, requiring more day-time trips using public transport that don’t have elevators, spaces for strollers or wheelchairs, or are unsafe. Most transit systems don’t break down the data they collect by gender, race and other important demographics leaving them in the dark as to how best suit the needs of those who are using their services most frequently. Using this data to make transit systems fairer is just another example of how big data can help achieve a more equitable society in the future.
Share #TechAways with your friends and colleagues. Ideas? Suggestions? Comments? Send them our way!
In case you haven’t had enough…
Tech groups dominate Davos but focus shifts from giants to unicorns (Financial Times)