Technology, Health, and Our Memory of Art in the Internet Age

by Jon Follett

Here’s what we’re reading online, this week at Involution, on design, tech, and the digital life, in our links round up.

The Therapeutic Touch of the iPad
The iPad may be the most important new computing device since the PC, as evidenced by its beautiful interactions, rapid adoption, and stunning sales numbers. With the iPad and the proliferation of tablet devices in general, we could be at the cusp of a revolutionary new age of personal computing: We've only just begun to see some of the numerous ways these devices can truly benefit users and improve their day-to-day lives.

In this vein, Mashable has a great piece on the ways in which iPads are improving the lives of children with disabilities. Whether it's for practicing fine motor skills, enabling touch to speech technology, enhancing special education, or tracking behavioral patterns, applications for the iPad are producing a positive impact, not just for children with disabilities, but also for the entire ecosystem of parents, teachers, and therapists who support them.

iOS vs. Android: Corporate Round One Goes to Apple
GigaOm reports that the iOS, in particular, iPad activations have moved ahead of Android devices, at corporations. Financial services firms, specifically, are a hot market for the iPad. As enterprise adoption increases, it's looking good for the Cupertino crew: It's no wonder that Apple stock is trading at levels near $400.

Art and Memory in the Internet Age
Blogger Rob Walker at The Design Observer contributes an interesting piece on art and our cultural memory in the age of Google. Walker conducts a series of Google Image Searches on famous works, from the Mona Lisa to the Obama "Hope" poster, and displays the results on the blog post. What appears is a mishmash of images, some of the original pieces, some of parodies / tributes / interpretations, and some of works inspired by the original.

These Google Image Search thumbnail collections are notable in that, while we can see many representations of the original and its derivative works, it's unclear as to the importance of each individual element. The collage like mass of images becomes its own piece, perhaps even overriding the image sources as a true representation of our digital culture's memory of art. Is this a scary premonition of the future or an incidental byproduct of our current search paradigm?

Real Life Meets the Social Network
Google+ has been growing by leaps and bounds in the past month, with lots of positive press about the interaction design, especially the Circles feature of the product. In regards to Circles and the philosophy that pushed forward the design of Google+, the Business Insider has an enlightening link, posting the internal presentation that inspired some of the design decision making around Google+. Worth noting in particular was Google's mandate to match the complicated, overlapping, and sometimes messy real world social networks of users with a digital equivalent.

Using Data to Target Health Care
Can targeted and substantially better health care for chronic, expensive patients, lead the way to cost savings? It sounds counter-intuitive, but this is the thesis of Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, a physician from New Jersey, who was featured in a recent Frontline episode. Dr. Brenner, conducted an analysis of medical billing data in impoverished Camden, NJ mapping the locations of the city's most costly patients. His strategy, which includes home visits and social workers for these patients, might be the answer to lowering the cost of American health care, and his ideas have drawn considerable attention, both positive and negative.

Dr. Atul Gawande, author of the popular book "The Checklist Manifesto" and a correspondent for Frontline, talks to Dr. Brenner's about his unique medical strategy. As Dr. Brenner puts it, "Better care for people is disruptive change."

Topics: apple, iPad, health care, Analysis, Blog, google