Do you keep a record how much time you are spending on Facebook weekly or daily? – If you don’t, then two MIT Ph.D. candidates Dan McDuff and Robert R. Morris did they homework by creating the Pavlov Poke, when they realized how much time they are wasting on this social network. This delivers non-lethal shocks that go through your body every time you click the news feed. This project rose many interesting question and results.
McDuff said that these shocks are quite unpleasant but far from dangerous. He added that they hurt and the whole process is very simple. The system is monitoring your actions and sends the proper signal to Arduino board that returns as a shock message. This system is made for those addicts who want to avoid spending time on Facebook. Pavlov Poke uses a wired keyboard in order to send the pain.
On the question if this project worked, Morris answered that he is not quite sure yet. Many shocks are needed for this project to be successful. He added that they’ve found that these shocks are aversive and removed it quickly after installing it on them. He did say that he noticed temporarily Facebook usage reduction and it could be the solution for those who want to get this social network out of their minds.
They have created another version of Pavlov Poke which doesn’t hurt at all. The whole process goes through a phone. Mechanical Turk by Amazon asks a complete stranger to call any Facebook addicted user and tell him to log off Facebook. The results are hilarious and definitely less painful than the shocks. The callers are using prepared scripts, that are used to stop a Facebook user using this social network.
In a statement, Morris said that Facebook is so bad it can be compared with cigarettes. It’s just a stupid habit and people think it’s the best thing to relax and feel free to do what they want in their spare time. This project exposes some important issues that need to be resolved. Everything is in people’s hands because if they want to quit Facebook’s addiction, then they can do that without the need of Pavlov Poke or anything similar to it.
At the end, Morris explained that this project is intended to be some kind of a joke but they expect some serious discussion to be provoked, concerning the design and the work put in the whole project.