Wide Awake

Back in September, I traveled to Singapore for FutureEverything's week of events there, in part to ki


January 24 · Issue #10 · View online
A periodic look into research threads on critical futures, strategy, post-normal innovation, providing a look over the shoulder of the team at Changeist. Each issue includes brief analysis, links, updates, and occasional auditory hallucinations.

Back in September, I traveled to Singapore for FutureEverything’s week of events there, in part to kick off a weeklong innovation lab. One of the installations of the event was the Chronarium, a temporary public sleep lab, which used light and music to guide visitors into a brief restful state, perhaps even to sleep. While a commentary on how much modern life takes from us in terms of recuperative rest, Chronarium investigated ways that technology might give back, instead of steal, sleep. 
Ironically, I never got to use the lab, only a few minutes down the street, as I was occupied with the ever-unfolding needs generated by the lab I was working in, and associated event activities. It might have been useful to grab a visit, as I and my colleagues had to adjust to the time difference and lack of quality sleep in order to participate in this event to begin with.
But this is the modern condition, is it not? During the Industrial Revolution, the “contract” that offered some of our ancestors higher living standards asked for a payment in the currency of sleep in return. Not waking was not working, which was not producing, which was not allowed. Marx posited the worker of the day needed ten to twelve hours of sleep to be able to give capitalism what it wanted in terms of labor. Productivity, as a source of perpetual growth, eats sleep and all that it provides. And precarity, among other things, has driven up the exchange rate of sleep. We’re now being told we can sleep in our hoodies. Even Davos Man/Woman is pushing back.  
But nowadays, access to technology, a proxy for wealth, promises to provide us ways to buy back sleep (even as it sucks more out of us). Quantified self/IoT devices and apps claim to help us sleep better, get the right amount of sleep (a promise they can’t keep), and even keep us safe while we sleep—all of which counterproductively churns up even more sleep-eating insecurity (horribly, my only interaction with Siri is around setting and canceling alarms).
So, this week I’ve collected some items related to the somnambulistic treadmill. Please don’t read it after 10PM.

What We've Been Up To
It’s been another week of doing speedruns through London’s various airports and semi-detached transport infrastructure, as my appreciation for Dutch trains and airports grows. This pattern will continue sporadically throughout early Spring. 
Susan got a nice shoutout from Dan Hon during his #oreillydesign talk this past week in San Francisco. 
While in London, John Willshire and I hatched a few ideas for our joint workshop coming up at Internet Age Media in Barcelona in early April. 
I have one new upcoming talk I can share, joining some great folks at DSummit in Stockholm May 26-27. I’ll be unboxing my new project How to Future (more about this soon). Tickets for DSummit are now available here
Also, Natalie’s gearing up for Lift16, coming in just a few weeks. If you’re headed to Geneva, look for her. 
Wide Awake
​Sleep Tech Will Widen the Gap Between the Rich and the Poor
New Sleep Number technology watches you while you're awake, too
Wearable Technology Tends To Overestimate Sleep Hours
The Network
Strange Telemetry’s newsletter is out. Sign up. It features a mention of their new essay for Tangible Evidence, “Internet of Bombs”. 
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Changeist / A-Lab: Lab 101 / Overhoeksplein 2 / 1031 KS Amsterdam / The Netherlands