Technologia non facit athleta

A popular gift this Christmas, I suspect, will be those colorful little wristbands that supposedly track how much you move. Ignore for now that the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that these wristbands are less accurate than iPhones at tracking steps and calories, or that the companies that make them collect your data and sell it to other companies, or that commodifying walking around is silly. There is no evidence that the wristbands (or any technology for that matter) result in people getting in shape. On the contrary, one of technology’s chief characteristics is that it replaces manual labor. Despite knowing this, now faced with the modern problem of not enough manual labor, we seek newer, better technology. (See Law of the Instrument.) But if we were genuinely concerned with fitness results, rather than the pleasantries of gift exchange, we would give our chubby loved ones the gift of less technology. I broke half your stuff, Merry Christmas.

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