The ever-watchful insurer

Wearable Health on IoT and iPhone

Summary:

Using the scenario of a date night out, I try to paint the picture of a future where health insurances hijack the wearable trend to dictate people’s lives by watching their every movement. The importance of health can never be understated, and with the rise in costs and potential privatisation of the NHS this could eventually become a very real reality.

The Date begins

“Hi there, I am here for my reservation at 7:30,” Matt announced to the waiter.

After a couple of seconds, the waiter’s finger lands on Mr. Landerson’s name.

“Right this way, Mr. Landerson, you are on Table 9”

Matt follows behind with Lydia’s fingers gently wrapped round his palm. As Lydia scans the room, she can’t help but appreciate the Victorian heritage in the décor of the restaurant. Also the candlelit lamps found on each table could either be described as retro or ancient for a restaurant in the year 2022. Cutlery with contemporary designs, tables and chairs that have been well maintained even though they are of a previous century and the paperbook menus filled with golden pages provided a throwback of a time where life was a lot simpler.

They reached their table where the waiter began to instinctively pull out the chair for the lovely lady only to be stopped with a light touch on the shoulder.“Thank you but I can handle this” Lydia smiled and swiftly seated herself. Chivalry is cute but it is no longer necessary in her eyes, even small gestures. As Matt watched the short encounter, he could not help but admire a woman who is not afraid to handle herself. Even when it has become an increasingly common trait, nowadays the gender scales are rather balanced in all encounters of life

“Would you like anything to drink?” the waiter asked.

“I would like to start with a glass of water, and the lady would have?” Matt hints at his date.

“A glass of red wine please”

“Thank you sir and madam, are you happy with the menus or would you prefer the latest iPads to select an order?”

Not really minding either, Matt simply glances at Lydia for a response.

Lydia responds to the cue and says “I’m happy with these thank you, it’s nice to have break from technology once in a while”.

After a slight nod, the waiter leaves the couple to begin their date.

The evening continues at a steady pace, as the waiter returns with their drinks, orders are made and the food arrives promptly. The pair manages to balance the act of eating and making meaningful conversation simultaneously without any awkward silences. Well, silence as is no long moments without human speech. Not much in the case of their ‘kits’ firing notifications as they consume their meals. They used to call them ‘wearables’ or ‘smart devices’, now they are just ‘kits’ that vibrate and make electronic sounds to notify their wearer. This is not uncommon with the widespread use of ‘kits’ to keep track of people’s habits and lifestyle. You would be hard fought not to find an adult without a wearable tracking their daily activity. Health insurance companies drove the usage of these devices so they could use the data to price their policies effectively, but it has also been seen as useful in making better life choices. If someone was to watch from the ceiling of the restaurant, they would probably find the mixed sound of hushed voices and excited tracking devices quite amusing. But this was simply like any other Saturday evening at Joe’s Kitchen.

Your daily allowance

Matt carves a small chunk out of his custard-covered apple crumble pie and places it into his mouth. He chews it softly, savouring the taste and finally swallowing the remnants. A split second passes then his right hand vibrates. He is reaching his daily allowance in carbohydrates it seems. Briefly he contemplates to risk the awkwardness or play it cool and take the hit on this month’s insurance. Taking in an eyeful of Lydia while she sips her wine, he juggles his options. The fullness of her bosom initially tips the scales in one direction but ultimately logic overrides his lust. Paying the extra £200 premium just because he doesn’t seem a bit weird wasn’t worth it. Hopefully she overlooks the brief moment of weirdness.

“Wow, that’s sugary” Matt mutters.

Lydia looks up, mildly surprised “Oh really? It would be a waste to give-up after one bite”

“True but no worries, I’ve been told to watch my sugars so I would rather avoid the wrath of my dentist”

Followed by short giggle, Lydia teases, “Oh are you a little scared of a needle or two?”

“Actually it’s the drilling noise that gets me, one small slip and I could end up with a hole in my gums. Four fillings and my paranoia hasn’t budged” Matt admits.

Showing a hint of vulnerability amidst your bravado apparently shows her you can be emotionally available if needed. After absorbing the fun fact of her date, Lydia excuses herself to go the ladies room.

A ‘toilet break’

Upon entering, Lydia scans the restroom and makes the necessary checks before entering one of the designated cubicles. With the coast clear she sticks her fingers down her throat, throwing up the Mexican chicken skewers she apparently enjoyed 2 minutes ago. The partly digested food comes up rather smoothly with minimum pain. She has gotten better at this. Once upright, she pulls out her iPhone and quickly inputs the estimated calories for half a meal with a glass of wine. The numbers on her iHealthMonitor app suggests everything seems to be on track and plus her date seems to be going great. She knows she needs to get back to her date, but can’t help a brief visit to the DNA section. Her chances of liver disease are currently at 47%, that’ll do, for now. According to her family history if she sticks to two glasses of wine a week her chances of getting this, decreases by 25% but there’s no guarantee when it’s in your genes. On that note, a quick thought crosses her mind. How does she refuse another glass of wine? Who ever has merely one glass of wine on a date? What if she ends up back at his? Wrestling with this hiccup she washes her hands and heads back to her table.

The evening comes to a close

Sensing her return, Matt quickly closes his Twitter app and lays his phone to one side. With Lydia looking satisfied, Matt decides to gauge how well the night has gone in the eyes of his rather attractive guest.

“So how has your evening been?”

“Goooood. I’ll say 4.5 stars out of 5!” Lydia throws back jokingly.

“What’s with the .5? Such an awkward score” Matt returns the sarcasm.

“I like to be specific”

“Okay, let me be more specific. I have another bottle of wine back at mine, which is 10 minutes closer by taxi to here than where you currently live. Based on these findings maybe you should come back to mine for the evening?”

“That’s quite on the geeky side but I can’t deny your logic” Lydia gives Matt a seductive look.

Feeling optimistic Matt calls their waiter over and asks for the final bill.

The ride home

Scrolling through the various local taxi firms Matt decides whether to risk a lower band for a better price or vice versa. With the rise of less regulated services such as Uber and AirBnB, reputable taxi firms are all but gone. Anyone could become a taxi driver for the night if they register with the right company. Although, this freedom comes with complications such as the rise in “taxi incidents” that are prevalent in cities such as London. Even the new driverless cars they have been trying to roll are susceptible to computer hacking. Plus if something were to happen, lower band services aren’t covered in the T&Cs. Feeling too mentally exhausted to assess the best option, Matt opts for a ‘semi-safe’ taxi firm and orders as-soon-as pick-up. Five minutes later, he receives a notification for his ride back. Withholding his excitement, he leads Lydia out of the restaurant giving his thanks to their waiter on his way out.

The moment

The taxi journey involved a lot of touching and feeling by both parties, a rather uncomfortable encounter for their driver. Even pouring the wine required that extra bit of attentiveness as his mind had already wandered off towards the bedroom. Lydia soothingly thanks Matt for the glass of wine taking only a small sip before laying it down. She has no intention of taking another sip and not only because she had reached her limit. There were simply better things to do. As soon as their eyes connected, it was instantaneous. What started in the taxi journey was making its way swiftly to the bedroom.

Minutes go by with more of the same, then as the foreplay reaches its pinnacle Matt reaches for his drawers and extracts a condom packet. Seeing him fiddling about and not wanting the moment to be lost to a few seconds of poor hand-eye coordination in the dark, Lydia lays a hand on his.

She assures him with “I’m on the pill, there’s no need for that now.”

After processing the information, he suddenly blurts out, “Sorry but my insurance doesn’t cover this”.

The moment wasn’t gone it was crushed to pieces.

 

Thank you for reading. This is my first fiction piece so any feedback is welcome!

Follow me @seyiagboola

2 thoughts on “The ever-watchful insurer

  1. Hi, I read your short story from the link on Engadget. Good for you! I enjoyed it. I have a tech piece about wearables in draft, and on the horizon, with a similar theme – big data and big health reap the benefits of a device YOU purchase and wear all the time. My blog is here, if you care to read:
    http://justinparrtech.com

    Like

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