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Wearables, the quantified self and synthetic biology: The Day Before Tomorrow kicks off with a look at health disruptors

The Drum's Day Before Tomorrow series exploring technological disruption kicked off last night with the first episode’s screening in London.

Professionals from the medical industry gathered to watch the programme looking at health disruptors, written and presented by The Drum’s head of TV Dave Birss, followed by a panel debate featuring Dr David Cox of Headspace, Lillian Shieh of SapientNitro and The Drum editor Gordon Young.

The film explored everything from wearable technology and its growing relationship with health; the rise of the ‘quantified self’, whereby technology becomes an extension of individuals and enables them to monitor and maintain health; to synthetic biology, the practice of engineering bacteria in a bid to allow humans to do things they are incapable of in their natural state.

“There’s a whole field of work around the interaction between human beings and technology,” said Dr David Cox during the panel session.

“As human beings we’re not great at doing calculations, but computers are, so we can get them to do calculations in the most easily digestible form for humans. There’s a lot of optimisation that can be done.

“I keep coming back to all other industries that use data so much more. Healthcare has some particular peculiarities about it, being risk averse when dealing with life and death. Of course, they have to be careful to get it right, but it still has to go through the same journey as all the other industries.

“Healthcare’s a decade behind on that journey, there’s so much to be learned from other industries.”