Consider the following products aimed at helping us change our behavior:
- There’s Lumo Lift, a little device you wear that vibrates when you slouch, reminding you to keep good posture.
- There’s Freedom, the software that shuts off your Internet access for you so you can get real work done.
- There’s WaterLogged, the apps that exhorts you to drink more water during the day.
- There’s HapiFork, a tech fork that lights up when you are eating too quickly.
- There’s Pavlov, a bracelet that will give you a mild shock to help you stop a bad habit.
- There’s Muse, a headband to monitor your brain waves.
These are just a few of the multitude of new products out there that nudge us to behave the way our rational minds in moments of tranquility judge to be best, but which are rational minds and will power along cannot get us to follow through on.
It’s not just nudging either. Data collection is always going on and these products analyze the patterns in your behavior so you can make more informed decisions.
The New York Times worried that, “In the move to the mass market, it seems, the quantified self has become the infantilized self.”
But there ought to be no shame in manipulating one’s unconscious drives to do what your rational self wants but can’t seem to make you do.