Murdoch revealed his Jawbone habit in a speech delivered to Australia's Lowy Institute, a think tank established by billionaire Frank Lowy whose Westfield shopping mall empire brings wallet-emptying opportunities to Reg readers in the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Lowy's story is remarkable: a Jew, he survived World War II, fought in the Arab-Israel wars, reunited with his long-lost mother in Australia as a penniless teenager, became a billionaire, and found time to drag the Australian football (cough, soccer) team into three World Cups. His titular institute contemplates international policy through a centrist and humanitarian lens.
Each year, the organisation stages the “Lowy Lecture”, usually delivered by an internationally eminent person.
Rupert Murdoch got the gig this year and during his speech revealed his Jawbone use, albeit without quite knowing it's called the UP. He also could not resist a barb.
In this country, I have a reputation as a man who occasionally likes to jawbone. In fact, I now wear a Jawbone.
This is a bracelet that keeps track of how I sleep, move and eat – transmitting that information to the cloud. It allows me to track and maintain my health much better. It allows my family and I to know more about one another’s health too, which means it encourages more personal and social responsibility instead of just running to the doctor when we don’t feel well.
Murdoch's gone on the record in the past as saying he hopes to live to the age of 100. A hint of how he thinks that might happen emerged in his next observations about the networked health services of the future:
This is only the beginning. Soon we will have similar watches and apps that keep track of our heart rate, our blood sugar, our brain signals. When this information is coupled with what is available on the internet, it will mean the ability to diagnose and suggest treatments – instantly.
That will help us all live longer lives, yes. But it will also change the health industry and the health dynamic. Not to mention opening many new areas for research and profit.
Elsewhere in the talk, Murdoch mentions he has an iPhone and praises it and its ilk as changing the news business for the better by making it possible to read whatever one wants just about whenever and wherever one wants it.
“That is a huge leap for an industry that once had to rely on trucks and news agents alone to deliver news to readers,” he noted.
Murdoch also said “the stunning growth of mobile communications” is “perhaps the most revolutionary disruption in the last decade”. For News Ltd, he said “that disruption has actually been a shot of adrenalin.”
In a marvellous irony, three former News Ltd staff have pleaded guilty to, er, very disruptive use of mobile technology. We suspect the phone-hacking charges they copped to aren't what Murdoch is alluding to in his talk. ®