Read Your Heart Rate From Your Smartphone Camera: Dr. Phillip Alvelda from Brainworks on the Human Tech podcast

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Dr. Phillip Alvelda has been working on AI projects for many years. His latest project with his new startup can measure medical vital signs, for example your heart rate, from looking at your face on your smartphone camera. In this podcast episode we talk with him about artificial intelligence, especially in healthcare, and privacy and ethics issues with AI.

If you are interested in what Dr. Alvelda and Brainworks is doing check out their website, Brainworks.ai

 


New Book on Behavioral Economics

I’m excited to announce that one of the Team W staff has just published a new book. If you’ve ever thought that Behavioral Economics was boring or incomprehensible, or not relevant to your life or work, then I suggest you check out this book. I think it will change your mind.

The author is our own Guthrie Weinschenk. It’s a big book, but it is laid out with care and has illustrations and graphics. The book summarizes some of the best and most recent research in the quickly growing field of behavioral economics.


Here’s what Guthrie says about the book:

“I read the original research studies and put only the best and most brilliant ideas together in a fun, easy to read, and inspiring book. There are cute little illustrations, visual aids, and all the research is cited. Use it as a reference guide of great research, to share wonderful ideas, or simply as an entertaining read. It is going to be so fun! I hope you’ll join me. You will find the information useful, fascinating, and maybe it will explain ourselves and fellow humans just a little bit more. I’ve worked hard to make this book an excellent value by keeping the price low, and filling it with almost 500 pages of love and useful information.”

So check it out. It’s available in paperback at Amazon.

UX Strategy: Making UX Teams More Efficient, Effective, and Impactful

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On this episode of the Human Tech podcast we talk about user experience (UX) strategy: What is it, why it’s important and what it entails.

We also talk about our new curriculum in UX Strategy that we recently launched at courses.theteamw.com

Here are the links we mention in the the episode:

The free UX Strategy Fundamentals online video course

The full UX Strategy curriculum of 6 online video courses


Kristen Gallagher from Google asks “How do you know you are enough?” on the Human Tech Podcast

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We met Kristen Gallagher from Google in Scottsdale in June at the UXPA conference. She intrigued us by sitting at a lunch table with strangers and asking the table to opine on gender differences in answering the question: “How do you know if you are enough”. So we brought her on the podcast to talk about the answers she’s been getting to her question in her conversations with people and responses on social media.


Elizabeth Rosenzweig On The Human Tech Podcast

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Elizabeth is the Founder and Director of World Usability Day. She joined us on this episode of the Human Tech podcast to talk about how World Usability Day got started, a little bit about the history of photography, her definition of usability, and the possible future of UX conferences. We also talk about her book, Successful User Experiences.

This year World Usability Day is on November 14, 2019. You can find more information at the World Usability Day website.


Creating Decision Points With Partitioning

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How do you make large scary ideas seem small and not so scary, or the reverse — make small things seem more important? You use the behavioral economics idea of “partitioning”. It’s all explained in this episode of the Human Tech podcast.


Talking User Research With David Travis

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David Travis joins us on the Human Tech podcast to talk about teaching people how to do user experience work and specifically how to do user research. Which means we of course talk about his latest book, Think Like A UX Researcher.


The Art and Science of Doing Nothing

Woman in hammockI read an article in the New York Times today about “niksen” which is a Dutch word meaning doing nothing. The article talks about how doing nothing can be good for you.

Ironically the article touts the idea of doing nothing so that you can be more productive. Which to me would mean you are doing nothing so that you can be better at doing something else. This does fit with the science of how the brain works, and how creativity works. (I’ve made an entire online video course on the topic). When you give your Executive Attention Network a break by not thinking or focusing on anything in particular, that frees up your Imagination Network (I know, I know, but this is actually the name given to this brain network by scientists) to work on solving problems and coming up with new ideas based on what you were concentrating on before. So it is true that if you take a break and stare into space for a while that will help you come up with ideas and problem solutions.

But doing nothing so you can then be better at doing something seems to run counter to the idea of niksen. What about doing nothing so that you just do nothing?

I’ve been teaching an 8-week Mindfulness Meditation course once or twice a year at my local yoga studio (a wonderful place called 5 Koshas in Wausau Wisconsin). The 8 week class includes homework, such as practicing the meditation we learned in class that week every day at home and so on. It’s a pretty intensive class. 

The last time I taught it I added to the homework. I asked students to practice 5 minutes a day of niksen. I asked them to sit in nature or stare out their window, or sit in their comfy chair at home and look at the fire in the fireplace, or just stare into space. This was the one thing I got push back on.  They were willing to practice meditation for 20 minutes every day, but to sit and do nothing for 5 minutes? “I don’t have time to do that” was the typical answer. “I have responsibilities, children, work…”.

I’m not disputing that they are busy people. I get it. I remember when I had two young children at home. But the vehemence with which they fought this idea seemed out of proportion with what I was asking them to do. 

I think the real reason for the resistence is that many of us have created a “busy habit”. We’re addicted to doing stuff. We have to prove something to ourselves and the world. I’m not sure what that something is, but it involves striving, being productive, being busy, working hard, playing hard. Everything has to have a purpose and be connected with a goal. Even our leisure time has to be busy, busy, busy.  Even our “down” time has to be filled with all the ways we are making ourselves better. We need to be learning to play piano, getting more exercise, learning how to make wine and so on.

I’m glad that the New York Times wrote about niksen. I hope this idea becomes more mainstream. I’ve always loved doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as ambitious as the next person. I write books and run a business. I compose music and grow an extensive garden. I teach meditation classes and organize my photos. But I also love to sit in one place and just look around me and do nothing at all. Maybe now my seeming “laziness” will become smart and trendy. 

If you haven’t tried out niksen lately I highly recommend you do so. It’s easy. Sit down somewhere and don’t do anything. Don’t bring your phone, or a book, or someone to talk to, or a podcast to listen to. Don’t try and take a nap. Just sit and stare or look around you lazily. You might like it.