Don’t stop moving: is the digital world friend or foe in fighting a sedentary future?

This event has now passed, but you can download the slides here.

Public talk with Professor Nick Wareham as part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

Saturday 22 October: 3:00pm – 4:00pm. Faculty of Law, 10 West Road, CB3 9DZ

A photo by David Grandmougin. unsplash.com/photos/Am1io6KusFMPhysical inactivity is a 21st Century epidemic. We have created a world where we move less and we sit more – from our drive to work, to our office desks, to our evening spent on the sofa. Technology has had a clear role in this: fostering a shift away from manual work, creating countless labour saving devices, and building a world of the omnipresent display screen. Many of these changes have brought great benefits, but they also create significant health risks that are spreading throughout the world. As well as the role of physical inactivity in weight gain, a recently published MRC Epidemiology Unit-led analysis of data from the Europe-wide EPIC study estimated that lack of exercise may be independently responsible for twice as many deaths as obesity.

But could the technology that threatens us also come to our rescue? Recent years have seen digital innovations that are aimed at getting us moving again, whether it’s a simple text message to prompt behaviour change, or wearables technologies that measure and feed back on the user’s every movements and vital sign. Indeed, we are witnessing the growth of a new movement, “the quantified self” that seeks personal knowledge and self-improvement through tracking with technology.

In this Cambridge Festival of Ideas talk Prof Nick Wareham, the Director of the MRC Epidemiology Unit and Centre for Diet and Activity Research, will examine what this technological change means for the individual, and the implications all this data has for a quantified society. How do we capture, process and make use of this data on a global scale? Can policymakers use this technology to nudge us back to a more active way of living? And what ethical implications does this create?

Registration is required to attend this talk, and booking information is available on the Cambridge Festival of Ideas website.