Bold predictions about the future of humanity are often made - we'll live on the moon, we'll control items telepathically, we'll live forever. Well, living forever may not be possible, but the rise of wearable technology could add another six months to your life.
This is according to crystal-ball gazers at Gartner who believe that the rise in wearable devices able to track body signals such as heartbeats, temperature and other environmental factors could add half a year to people's life spans, in a few years' time.
"By 2020, developed world life expectancy will increase by 0.5 years due to widespread adoption of wireless health monitoring technology," the company states.
It says that a rise in new types of wearables technology - such as wireless heart monitoring patches, smart shirts and sensors in accessories - will give people more control and comfort over how health information is gathered, with data transferred over wireless networks.
Complementing this is the rise in cloud storage and big data platforms that will enable this information to be gathered and analysed, helping provide faster, more accurate insights into the wearer's physical well being.
"Data can be correlated against large cloud-based information repositories for sanctioned actions and through social networks for anecdotal advice. Gartner expects data from remote monitoring devices to provide continued access from patients to medical practitioners," the report says.
Of course such benefits come hand-in-hand with questions and concerns around privacy and data protection. How can you be sure only trusted health professionals will see your data? What happens if the company gathering it is hacked, or the cloud system storing it breached?
Humanity faces many such questions as the future rapidly approaches.
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