Shock Therapy for a Better Self

Julia Weber
July 9th 2014

“The lines are going to blur, between therapy and enhancement. Between treatment and prevention and between need and desire.”  This is a quote by biophysicist and best-selling author Gregory Stock in his Ted Talk 'To Update is Human' from 2003. Eleven Years later we arrived to that predicted level with the habit forming device Pavlok. It is a bracelet that gives you electric shocks if you don't achieve the set goal. The designer, Maneesh Sethi, pledges an enhancement of your daily life by zapping yourself and changing thereby your old habits.

The Pavlok bracelet will be launched via crowdfunding in September and it is planned to be sold for for 250$ in early 2015 to people who want to fulfill their dreams of eliminating procrastination and laziness. With this accessorize you'll never oversleep again or hesitate to open an unhealthy bag of chips.

"It sits on my wrist and at 6 am it'll vibrate. I can snooze it, but if I snooze it twice, it shocks me." Sethi explains. "I myself have lost 30lbs just doing this in the last few months, simply forcing myself to go and swipe the card at the gym ... and my friend can monitor my swiping the card at the gym." Maneesh Sethi is a blogger that reached internet fame when he hired a woman to give him a slap whenever he opens Facebook.

pavlok2

This concept of operant conditioning, also known as the Skinner box, was used to study animals behavior making use of electric shocks. According to studies positive reinforcements mostly works better than negative.
Anyway, Pavlok uses also positive effects on the user: once the goal is assigned and completed, you get rewarded with incentives. If not, you get a mild schock. "The negative gets you started and the positive keeps the habit going" Sethi says. "As you start to succeed, you can take away the negative reinforcement and give positive reinforcement."

Via Angel.co: "Pavlok combines accurate tracking capabilities, powerful commitment techniques, and ‘on-your-wrist’ reminder triggers to change users’ brains and form the habits they wish they had. Through our proprietary negative and positive reinforcement technique, Pavlok doesn’t simply nudge someone to change their behavior --- it pushes them to transform themselves and form the habit to maintain their transformation. (..) People are using Pavlok to form habits such as: exercising daily, learning German, writing daily, drinking more water."

Sethi's company has so far received $100,000 in investments for the development, with the crowdfunding will raise money to produce the first batch of wristbands.

Source: Pavlok.com, Angel.co
Related Post: How Biotech Will Drive Our Evolution

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Lisa Mandemaker: Using an artificial womb could lead to more equality between sexes, but also between different family layouts. If men would be able to give birth to children, it would maybe be easier for male same-sex couples to have a child together.

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