“The war may be lost before it even started.”
Over the past four months, I have been exposing some simple nosy strategies that keep you glued to your phone – those strategies that keep you tapping and swiping on your phone screen uncountable times a day. However, there are too many of these strategies that I may need three years to cover all of them monthly.
With these powerful strategies in the hands of commercial app developers and tech companies, humans are fighting a battle that we may never be able to win. This is because the more we try to become independent of smartphones and their apps, the less comfortable our lives get. It is gradually becoming impossible to survive and carry out day-to-day activities in this modern-day without using some type of mobile device. Our daily activities such as shopping, communication, entertainment, and chores, are becoming integrated with a form of mobile computing. This keeps us at the mercy of profit-hungry commercial firms. As these firms compete for more profit, you can rest assured that they would keep developing more addictive ways to keep you glued to your mobile devices.
Fortunately, many awesome computer science researchers are dedicating their lives to using these strategies for the general good instead. For example, at Dalhousie University, the Persuasive Computing Lab is focusses on using these strategies to help promote healthy human behaviour. The lab led by Dr Rita Orji, designs and carries out studies on how to use various technological interventions such as games, mobile apps, and Virtual and Augmented reality to discourage unhealthy human behaviour and promote healthy ones. With members of the lab such as Chinenye Ndulue, Oladapo Oyebode, Dr Alaa Al-Slaity, Dr Gerry Chan, Felwah Alqahtani, Mona Alhasani and a host of others, the future of these persuasive strategies looks bright for humankind.
In conclusion, I call on all tech companies to develop laws and policies guiding the implementation of these persuasive strategies for commercial purposes. This may prevent abuse of the psychological powers of these strategies and create a ‘fair warzone’ between humans and their mobile devices.
Image source: Assets from ‘pch.vector’ and ‘upklyak’ via Freepik.com (edited by Chinenye Ndulue)