The IoT For Food Might Do More Harm Than Good

The Lempert Report
October 16, 2018

An article in part of the Science X network takes a different look at how these new technologies, including Amazon’s drones and Amazon’s Alexa may lead to poorer health choices.

For the past couple of years you’ve heard me talk a lot about smart cupboards and refrigerators that will lead to automatic replenishment and make our food shopping experience richer by leaving us time to explore the more exciting foods while delivering foods that we are unemotional about.

The author Kathryn Backholer writes “In a world driven by corporate profits and solid stakeholder returns, it is easy to see how the technological frontier may be used to drive up profits and drive down health.

An unhealthy diet is now the leading preventable risk factor for the global disease burden. More than 35% of Australian's energy intake comes from foods and drinks that are not considered part of a healthy diet”.

She offers concrete examples – such as Coca-Cola combining vending machines with artificial intelligence, to bring more joy to the purchase of a its sodas. And that the future will enable vending machines to chat in a two-way conversation, building emotional connections between Coke and consumers.

She suggests that shopping carts be equipped with resistance controls to incorporate physical activity into your daily shop, with personalized and tailored nutritious food marketing? That Google's ocular scanning devices could be incorporated into the handles to provide you with a health check, simply by scanning the retina of your eye.

And, one of my favorite discussions, if we're going to have intelligent robots conversing with customers in stores, let's ensure they steer them towards healthy food choices– making a healthy shopping experience easier, more enjoyable and more convenient.

Technology is a good thing, but this article makes a great point that it can be used to even a greater effect by steering us to better health.