The new adage that “there is an app for that” is very telling to where most innovation is going. There are apps to help you remember to pick up groceries, find the nearest gas station or even suggesting recipes based on the foods you have in your fridge. The technologies that are incorporated to these apps have been around for a while now, but what made a difference is the mobility of the technology and the emergence of the cloud. Now almost every industry is looking at using mobile and cloud technology to create more efficient processes. But what can apps do for you as a human being? The newest feature in The Atlantic Monthly suggests that app technology is putting a modern twist on traditional behavioural modification techniques that “can make you richer, thinner, and happier.”
“B.F. Skinner’s notorious theory of behavior modification was denounced by critics 50 years ago as a facist, manipulative vehicle for government control,” reads the introduction. “But Skinner’s ideas are making an unlikely comeback today, powered by smartphone apps that are transforming us into thinner, richer, all-around-better versions of ourselves. The only thing we have to give up? Free will.”
While the “sacrifice of free will” involved in weight loss and exercise-based apps is debatable, it’s encouraging to know how many “helpers” are available for your smartphone. MyFitnessPal and LoseIt allow users to count their calories and develop a weight loss social network to help them develop healthier habits. The social aspect is very important to behavior modification, and the sharing of data on the cloud between mobile devices and personal computers ensures counting calories is as easy as possible.
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