HOW TO USE DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES TO IMPROVE THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE?

By Albert Salgueda Martos

Introduction

Life is a complicated phenomenon that we can’t completely understand. If we try to rationalize it, we could argue that maybe life is information ( in the form of DNA ) that manages to ensure its continued existence. Furthermore, every DNA contains an algorithm that describes the main structure of an organism that is capable to interact with its environment, which is not deterministic, to obtain rewards to survive and reproduce.

 In artificial intelligence, exploration and exploitation are a tradeoff that happens when an agent tries to obtain rewards from an environment s producing an action a. The agent wants to exploit what it already knows but also wants to try new things in case there are bigger rewards of which the agent is unaware. In that sense, we could define evolution as the sum of total explorations ( or genetic mutations ) of DNA across the history of planet Earth. 

After millions of years of learning from the environment, life evolved and produced humankind. Somehow human life could escape that paradigm. By using verbal communication we can store information outside the DNA structure, culture would be the sum of all this information. Now we are using this information to train human-created intelligent agents to exploit and explore it. Whether we are an algorithm or some sort of spiritual being, we are alive and we have a chance to do whatever we want with the time we are given. Life is not something to be consumed but rather something to be built, I came up with an interesting approach that is helping me improve in all areas of life by using digital technology. I just wanted to underline the importance of information in the development of life. 

Life is a game

We could try to compare life to a videogame. In a videogame, there is an agent that has to overcome some missions to obtain certain rewards to be capable of doing more complicated missions. By playing, the agent learns, obtains information, and improves itself. However, there  are major differences between life and a videogame:

-Risk: in a videogame, there is no risk, you can die several times. In life, well, YOLO.

-Time and effort: in a videogame, you can shape the character by pressing a few buttons. In life, if you want to be shredded, you have to put a lot of effort and time to acquire that. 

-Rewards: real life’s rewards are way better than video games. You can have sex in a videogame, but we all know that nothing feels better than the skin on skin. 

In the life game, we appear at a particular moment and place and start playing without choosing to do so. We have some resources, mainly provided by our parents, and some capabilities. We also face several challenges and life traps, a kind of bug of thought that may lead us to mental diseases and suffering. There are not any predefined missions, no clues, nor clear rewards. So, what shall we do?

Use digital tools to play better

As explained before, we are capable of storing information in a  wide range of possibilities. The Digital era brings us the possibility to save and access this data anytime anywhere. This opens up the two main use cases I want to share with you: 

  1. MYX 

I am starting to develop an application ( together with some smart mates from India ) that pretends to gamify life to make users feel as if they are playing their own life’s game while helping them improve their lives and eventually improve the World. Using MYX, you can set games/missions and reward yourself every time you attain something. I invented a magnitude called MYX: a MYX is an invented unit of measurement that represents the amount of value a person brings to himself. The more MYX you score the better you will become.

With this App, you can track everything that’s relevant to you and get motivated in the process. The system works amazingly well and sets the path for sustained and self-aware personal growth.  

Many social apps like Instagram or Snapchat allow users to share their “best part”, bringing competition among users and leading to terrible consequences: low self-love, unhealthy self-comparison, HUGE distractions… overall they alienate users from their real-life objectives, making them pursue false dreams and fake stereotypes. What if we all used Apps that make us better?

The app is still in its infant stage but I can attach some screenshots of the current version:

Loading Screen
Main Screen

  1. THE HOLY GRAIL

The other tool I use is the holy grail or database of life. The mission of the holy grail is the storage and categorization of relevant information that I collect in my life so that I or someone else can enjoy the usefulness of this information and the method used for its storage and classification in future times. Encourage the creation of ideas, and more specifically, of those ideas that arise from consequent derivations. The categories are:

-Art and Creativity

-Personal Growth

-Theoretical Questions

-Personal Finance

-Technological Wave ( includes AI, Blockchain, and Effective Altruism )

-Health

The Holy Grail, 2021

CONCLUSIONS

Given the fact that we use our phones an average of 4-6 hours every day, it is really important to take advantage of them. All apps want our attention but our time is limited and we should deploy it to the Apps that report a benefit to us.

I realized that these tools are powerful. Firstly, start by controlling the number of notifications that you want to receive and installing apps that can lead to potential growth. Consider deleting apps that are addictive and do not report any benefit to you.

My personal recommendation is Rise to help you sleep better and CoinMarketCap to monitor your crypto portfolio.

QUESTIONS

Are you currently using any tracking app? 

Do you think that tracking information about one’s life is useful?

Anyone wants to help me with the MYX App?

15 comments

  1. Super cool blog! Thank you for telling us about the app you are developing. The only tracking app I use is FitBit. I actively track my steps, calories eaten, calories burned, quality of sleep, and heart rate during workouts. I am a powerlifter and bodybuilder; The information real-time data the app provides has helped me adjust programming to reach my fitness goals. It’s also been a useful tool to share with my doctor.

    Not sure how I can help with MYX, but I’m here if you need it! Good luck!!

    1. Thank you so much Bianca ;)
      Really appreciate your feedback, I am actually looking for people to take the MYX project to the next level, if you are really interested and want to own a part of it and contribute on its development, we can talk about it, please send me a Twitter message on @albertsalgueda

  2. It’s funny how related this article is to a comment I just posted to Shannon’s blog around losing the touch with human interaction through delivery apps. Your apps are such great ideas to help people reconnect themselves with developing as humans by tracking real world actions in a “gamified” world where you get rewarded for personal growth.

    I’ve personally used “fitness challenge” boards via my work’s Asana platform to digitally “gamify” developing fitness lifestyles through tracking workouts on an online social page with coworkers. It got really great feedback, so I do think there is a strong market for people wanting to use digital platforms to feel like they’re making progress on their own personal development.

    1. Hello Bryan, really appreciate your feedback. I didn’t know about the “fitness challenge”, but that’s good news for me hahahaha
      I was planning about adding a “group/shared” objectives option within the App. But developing that is quite complex, I hope I can make it sooner or later, I’ll keep you updated ;)

  3. Nice post. Looking forward to hearing the presentation!

  4. So thought-provoking! This really expanded my horizons and I love the concept of your app, as well as the parallels you drew between life and videogames. I am someone who needs a structure and (a reward system!) to achieve goals, and have toyed with various ideas over the years of how to take some programs we used in the workplace and turn them into guides/tracking mechanisms for personal goals – I think there is so much potential there to help people realize goals, but also improve their wellbeing (as your app intends). I used to use Lose It! to track fitness and food, but found it required too many clicks/too much navigation and I disliked constantly being reminded that I could pay to access the better content. As someone who is generally distrustful of apps, I am totally on board with ones that are intended for personal betterment/advantage – can’t wait to one day say “I knew him when…”

    1. Thanks for your positive feedback Christina!
      This is the aim of the App, and it will remain free from Ads or this kind of shit we all hate. My intention is to keep it as simple as possible too so it does not convert on this kind of tedious “tracking apps”
      I am trying to build the App I am going to use myself for my personal growth, it is not being an easy task, especially because I lack fo resources ( mostly economical ) but I hope I can make it one day. Your words really inspire me to keep building it and to do it with this essence. Thank you so much!

  5. Albert, I am glad that you made a post about this. I remember when you were showing me your app and telling me about it. With this blog, you have done a great job explaining in more detail what you are trying to accomplish and why this app would be successful.
    I am looking forward to seeing your progress! Keep up the excellent work!

    1. Thank you Carlos ;) We keep on touch!

  6. Love the idea behind this! With the availability of many different apps and ways of entertainment we tend to neglect ourselves. I have not seen something out in the market that encourages and rewards you for focusing on yourself rather than every else around you. The closest thing I can think of is the mini celebration the Apple Watch has when you close all your rings for the day lol This is definitely something I would use! Good luck :)

    1. Thanks nkkarim,
      This kind of feedback is the motivation for me to do it. I hope I can deliver something good enough for people to use it, meanwhile, I will keep on working on it with that only purpose. As long as 1 person uses it, I’ll have fulfilled my objective ;)

  7. Glad to read your post about this. To build off of your point about tracking for personal development, I currently am trying to reduce the time spent on my phone this week. However, I’ve realized I need technology in order to decrease my time spent on technology (sounds counterintuitive, but sure you get the point). Anyway, one intriguing metric Apple provides you is the amount of times you pick up your phone; it’s a scary metric, but informed me a lot about how much I pick up my phone on an average day.

    1. I get that point Shannon!
      Other apps get kinda addicting and do not report any benefit to us, I hope we can work together to reverse it. Now I am going to read your post ehehehhehee

    2. They told me it’s really good and somehow I missed it !

  8. Reading your post after your presentation definitely helps me get a firmer understanding! Like Shannon, I’ve tried to reduce my time on my phone and other technology this last week as I’ve noticed it influencing my focus on work and school.

    Once I get into a healthier balance of the two, I think MYX would be a great app for me to have and keep myself oriented and motivated to the things more important in my life.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: