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Using Technology To Enforce Good Behavior

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the hey-it-works-for-dogs dept.

Technology 249

Ismellpoop writes "With the new year upon us and resolutions being made to change unwanted behavior, many tools are now available to help people stay in line, such as a GPS-enabled app that locks down texting once a car gets rolling and a program that cuts off credit-card spending. Another device monitors your workout and offers real-time voice feedback. Have we entered an era in which electronics serve as mother, cop and coach because we can't manage our own desires?"

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249 comments

How is this any different than my alarm clock? (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747064)

How is this any different than my alarm clock?

Is it my mother because it wakes me?

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (3, Insightful)

click2005 (921437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747126)

Why not just fit everyone with a V-chip. If they have impure/illegal/un-patriotic/ thoughts they get a shock.

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (1, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747198)

Why not just fit everyone with a V-chip. If they have impure/illegal/un-patriotic/ thoughts they get a shock.

AT least then we will all have the means to send Saddam back to hell if he ever escapes.

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747226)

s/if/when/

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (2)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747230)

Fry: Jeez, doesn't that shock collar hurt?
Leela: Actually, feels kind of good. I guess I'm starting to associate it with the pleasure of beating people up.

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747442)

You have committed a double-plus ungood crimethink. Please report immediately to the Ministry of Love for reeducation.

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747680)

Now that would make me quite pissed off.

What, I can't say pissed off?

OWWWWWWWWWWW!

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747242)

Is it my mother because it wakes me?

Only if you dream of having sex with it

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747278)

My mother used a cattle prod, you insensitive clod.

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (1)

mcneely.mike (927221) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747604)

My mother used a cattle prod, you insensitive clod.

Don't brag... YOU insensitive lucky guy.

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (1)

trollertron3000 (1940942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747282)

Yes. Real men waken themselves by drinking a certain amount of water like the Native Americans did. Also, we keep our earnins in a coffee can!

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (2, Insightful)

fearlezz (594718) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747322)

It is your mother if the manufacturer programmed it to go off every day at 7.00, even if you don't have school/work.

Your alarm clock goes off because YOU instructed it to. Not because someone else is enforcing their habits and/or rules on you.

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747464)

It is your mother if the manufacturer programmed it to go off every day at 7.00, even if you don't have school/work.

Your alarm clock goes off because YOU instructed it to. Not because someone else is enforcing their habits and/or rules on you.

From TFA these devices/apps/programs are all voluntary. Well, I guess buying the 7:00AM alarm clock would be too, so nevermind.

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (1)

hosecoat (877680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747480)

It is your mother if the manufacturer programmed it to go off every day at 7.00, even if you don't have school/work.

Your alarm clock goes off because YOU instructed it to. Not because someone else is enforcing their habits and/or rules on you.

"enforcing their rules on you", perhaps a better word than "mother" would be "annoying".
eg. This new technology is "annoying".
Alternatively, you could call it technology that prevents you from doing what you want to do

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747824)

Well, so is my alarm clock. It prevents me from what I want to do - e.g. sleeping till noon.

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747626)

My alarm clock:
# M H dom mo dow
35 06 * * 1-5 mainuser play /home/mainuser/kirbytheme.wav 2>/dev/null

Re:How is this any different than my alarm clock? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747352)

What is this 'alarm clock' app you speak of? The iPhone doesn't appear to have such a thing.

The blurb misses something in the proposition. (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747092)

Have we entered an era in which electronics serve as mother, cop and coach because we can't manage our own desires?

If you're the one setting up these utilities for yourself, then you are managing your own desires.

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747276)

I refuse to let anyone tell me what to do, especially past-me. Who does that fucker think he was, making decisions for me? When he told our wife "I'll pick up groceries on the way home," did he have any idea how tired I would be after work? No, and he didn't care, because it's not him picking up the groceries, he is gone, he is only a shadow of the past, and I am the one who has to pick up the groceries. Well, fuck it. It's not like I'm hungry now. If future me gets hungry, he can get his own damn food. But knowing him, he'll blame me for not getting it for him now, the sanctimonious prick.

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (1)

hansraj (458504) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747414)

Ahahahaha.. man, you killed me!

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (1)

rezalas (1227518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747782)

No his past self killed you and my past self commented about it. Unfortunately this excuse doesn't work in court.

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747486)

When you put it like that procrastination makes so much more sense.

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747512)

I refuse to let anyone tell me what to do, especially past-me. Who does that fucker think he was, making decisions for me? When he told our wife "I'll pick up groceries on the way home," did he have any idea how tired I would be after work? No, and he didn't care, because it's not him picking up the groceries, he is gone, he is only a shadow of the past, and I am the one who has to pick up the groceries. Well, fuck it. It's not like I'm hungry now. If future me gets hungry, he can get his own damn food. But knowing him, he'll blame me for not getting it for him now, the sanctimonious prick.

Bastard ate my emergency donut, too.

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (2)

hansraj (458504) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747600)

Just that?

My past-me was clogging the internet posting lame "Ahahahaha.. man; you killed me!" comments.

So actually, my past-me ate parts of everyone's donuts!

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34748022)

Best Funny on Slashdot in a long time.

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747288)

The fun part will come when these utilities are set up by the manufacturer, at the government's behest, for the sake of "safety"...

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (2)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747332)

That can be a grey area though,

If I input my physiological information et al. into a health management program that plans my different foodstuffs intakes, am I managing my desires when I only eat what the software tells me? What if I was only allowed the food that the software determined, and was physically incapable (or restrained) from eating food not specified by the software? How far off do we think this future really is, 10, 15, maybe 30 yrs?

As we march towards the singularity (the one in which technology owns us, not the Terminator style one, but the point at which we are completely incapable as a cumulative species of surviving with little to know technology), we slowly hand our decision making skills over to software developers, who vicariously manage our desires with their code.

Summary is still poorly worded flame-bait though, you can't really manage 'desires' per se. You can recognize them and act on them accordingly, but setting my alarm clock (as a poster used as an example) doesn't manage my desire to get out of bed, it just adds a desire to stop that loud ass noise, with the added benefit of awaking to do so.

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747672)

We're at the point of non-survival already. Without modern technology, it would be impossible to produce enough food and many communities would be without enough water. If something happened tomorrow to wipe out just electricity and the mechanised engine, I imagine well over half the population of the world would be dead in five years. Humanity would survive, but the losses would be harsh, and numbers could never recover without the return of those technologies.

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747758)

No, if you're utilizing an application to determine your diet and you eat accordingly, you're choosing to make use of tools likely developed by those who have spent their life specializing in something (nutrition, dietary needs, etc) that you likely have not and therefore have accepted the benefit of their expertise through the piece of software. The same way I use a piece of software to help me file my taxes every year, because I am a software engineer and not an economist or tax advisor or a CPA.

Of course, being forced into some big brother situation is evil and abhorrent. Having the choice to use something or not or to stop using it is hardly a significant concern.

You could argue that I have no assurance that such a program would be developed by anyone who has a clue what they're doing, but that's the reason I use things like Turbo Tax and not "Bob's Tax Stuff".

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747358)

Yes, this is more like "Using technology to break bad habits". With apologies to Chris Rock, ain't nothing wrong with that!

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747380)

people were able to manage their own desires previously. This is just another tool for it. Doesn't mean it works, though.

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747424)

I already have it by setting my ringtone to:
"Bad boy, bad boy, whatchou gonna do if they come for you"

Re:The blurb misses something in the proposition. (2)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747496)

This way no-texting-while-driving app becomes self-control prosthesis. Just like post-it's are memory prostheses.

Flamebait summary (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747098)

Have we entered an era in which electronics serve as mother, cop and coach because we can't manage our own desires?"

Poppycock. These technologies aren't for government, aren't for ME keeping YOU from texting; they're tools for helping you help yourself.

Here's one not covered in TFA -- your alarm clock. Don't have the discipline to go to bed early enough to get to work on time? Set this handy little gadget and it will wake you up in the morning, just like your mom used to do.

Did all that with my PalmVx (1)

McNihil (612243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747112)

back in late 90ies... with the huge GPS "dongle" mind you.

This Mountain Dew moment brought to you by me.

Credit card spending ? (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747116)

I have a device that cuts off credit card spending - scissors.

Re:Credit card spending ? (1)

Dunega (901960) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747616)

For all of those who have memorized their credit card information, you can also use the scissors to gouge your eyes out. That will make it much more difficult to find the place on the screen to type that information in!

Flamebait! (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747124)

Have we entered an era in which electronics serve as mother, cop and coach because we can't manage our own desires?

Flamebait question. Computers? Being used to automate things? STOP THE PRESSES!

Re:Flamebait! (5, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747240)

Flamebait question. Computers? Being used to automate things? STOP THE PRESSES!

We can't! They're automated too!

Employers using it (2)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747160)

My BMI is just a little higher than the value my company's insurance policy requires, so I am going to be required to carry a digital pedometer and record a minimum number of steps per month in order to get the same insurance at the same rate that someone who weighs 20 pounds less would get.

Re:Employers using it (2)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747212)

Yikes, I hope you're not serious. But in case you are, just put that pedometer in a paint mixer for a few minutes.

Re:Employers using it (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747234)

So now, apparently, he's overweight and prone to seizures.

Re:Employers using it (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747384)

Dead serious. So to speak. It's either that or enroll in Weight Watchers.

I also have to submit to a blood test for nicotine, and get a note from my doctor saying I'm not suffering from depression. That last condition is a substitute for the old rule, which was based on alcohol consumption. So I guess it's OK now for me to be a drunk, as long as I'm not unhappy about it. And as long as I can stagger at least X steps per month.

Re:Employers using it (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747542)

I also have to submit to a blood test for nicotine, and get a note from my doctor saying I'm not suffering from depression.

Are there any other medical conditions you are forbidden from having?

Re:Employers using it (1)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747748)

I also have to submit to a blood test for nicotine, and get a note from my doctor saying I'm not suffering from depression.

Are there any other medical conditions you are forbidden from having?

He's also not allowed to be less that 6'0" or taller than 6'2", can only consume vegetables on days that are prime numbers, and is not allowed to smile if he sees puppies. The employers don't seem to make the connection between that last one and depression.

Re:Employers using it (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747874)

I'm allowed to have all sorts of medical conditions, but I have to pay extra for health insurance if I'm not actively working on the lifestyle-based conditions. It's the carrot/stick approach to motivating employees to bring down health care costs, but they're not doing it on the honor system anymore: you have to prove it.

Re:Employers using it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747368)

...a digital pedometer...

What's that do? Count the kids you diddled?

Re:Employers using it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747426)

Yeah, but it only has an 8-bit accumulator, so as long as he diddles exactly 256 kids, it'll look like he's clean.

Re:Employers using it (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747418)

At least these days we know about BMI. When I was in the USAF in the early '70s, they were having a fit about obesity. During basic training if you weighed too much, they put you in the "fat boys squadron", and you doubletimed everywhere, and had a strict diet (there was actually an armed guard by the milk machine any time the fat boys were in the mess hall).

I was stationed with a career man (he'd been there for 8 years alreadY) who was a weight lifter. This guy looked like Governor Arnold; he probably didn't have a pound of fat on his whole body, but his weight was too much for his height by USAF standards, and they told him he had to lose 20 pounds or face a medical discharge!

He lost the weight by drinking nothing but beer and coffee for two days, dehydrating himself and losing 20 pounds of water weight.

Re:Employers using it (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747708)

That guy wouldn't score any better on the BMI charts that now categorize me as "obese": all they look at is height and weight. Not that I look like the former Governator, but I walk a lot and I have pretty strong legs, so I'm more fit than a simple calculation of weight/height would imply.

Re:Employers using it (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747810)

You should have your doctor do a proper BMI test. Or just do what the lifer guy did, dehydrate yourself before getting weighed.

Re:Employers using it (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747552)

Is that even legal? The BMI is an utterly discredited measure of health. Comparing someone's height and weight is in no way meaningful, since it assumes that any extra weight you're carrying is fat. My BMI puts me squarely into "obese" territory, despite not even being particularly fat (1.86m, 100kg, or to translate into American units 6' and 220lbs) - but I'd like to see how many "normal" BMI, low-fat, no-carbs, no-caffeine, no-gluten skinny freaks can carry a 10m scaffolding pole up 24 floor's worth of stairs ;-)

Re:Employers using it (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747712)

BMI is used because it's convenient. There are better measures, but they need specialised equipment or extensive time-consuming measurements by someone with special training. All you need to determine BMI are scales and a stick with height markings.

We can and do manage our behavior, but... (3, Insightful)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747164)

We can and do manage our behavior, but we also like to have some sort of silver-bullet placebo. It's the only way some people can convince themselves that there will be results for some exertion of effort.

It's particularly bad, though, when we make major purchases under the pretense that we will guilt ourselves into conforming to a regiment or else risk wasting a significant investment. Bikes, gym memberships, new running shoes, etc -- these are all things that most people buy as a means to shift a desire from second level (I want to want to...) to first level (I want to...).

In the end, people just stop using those crutches (for the most part) and recede to prior, bad habits.

Re:We can and do manage our behavior, but... (0)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747436)

Humans are pretty weak-willed in general. Smokers, people who are obese, people with more than 2-3 kids, people who watch television more or play computer games more than a few hours a week, etc. Of course, if we weren't weak-willed our economy would totally collapse.

Re:We can and do manage our behavior, but... (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747698)

Humans are pretty weak-willed in general. Smokers, people who are obese, people with more than 2-3 kids, people who watch television more or play computer games more than a few hours a week, etc.

"Not behaving as RazzleFrog would like" != "weak willed".

Re:We can and do manage our behavior, but... (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747768)

He's just giving examples of what people frequently regret, I think... not prescribing appropriate human lifestyle choices.

(Yes, children are frequently regrets as infrequently as parents like to admit it.)

Re:We can and do manage our behavior, but... (1)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747772)

I don't "like" anything. I am talking about unhealthy behavior. I don't care if you smoke and eat yourself to death.

Re:We can and do manage our behavior, but... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747584)

This reminds me of a couple of tech crutch ideas I've had in the past:

Timed padlock for sweets: Has multi-day delay before it can be opened again. Padlock is sufficiently expensive that one wouldn't want to break it to get a few dollars' worth of chocolate inside box locked with it. This way lock doesn't have to be metal; could be plastic.

Clock for people who set their clock ahead, but then mentally adjust time and so are late anyway: Time displayed by clock is always ahead, but by a random amount which varies between say 0 and 10 minutes. This way user has to assume it shows the correct time, and thus arrive on average 5 minutes early. Cheap version: cover up ones place of minutes display.

Re:We can and do manage our behavior, but... (1)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747752)

I would actually pay for both of those devices. Not for myself, but for my S/O who, of all things, lacks "will" and "drive" for most things in life. She's the kind of person who would buy the silver-bullet placebos I described without fail.

She took up knitting and invested in a massive amount of yarn (high quality stuff on bargain when she could find it) with the assumption that the investment will guilt her into using it. I'm pretty sure she's quit 80% of her attempted projects since her start.

I'm pretty sure she'd have been fired from her job (despite her being indispensable) for her chronic tardiness if I was not one who subscribed to the philosophy that says: "There are only two times: Early and Late. There is no 'on time'."

Cel phone jammers! (1, Insightful)

snarfies (115214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747168)

I own two cel phone jammers. I have been trapped in too many inescapable situations (bus, train, lines, etc) with somebody having a loud and/or annoying conversation near me that even my headphones cannot drown out. I jam their cel phone signal and shut them the hell up. And I feel good about it, too. I'm like a secret superhero to everyone else within earshot.

I use a P20B jammer [dealextreme.com] , which seems to jam most ATT, T-Mobile, and Verizon phones. It isn't 100% effective - Cricket and MetroPCS seem to to completely immune, not sure about Sprint/Nextel, and Alltel doesn't exist in my area. I recommend it for just about everybody.* If anyone knows of a jammer that ALSO works on those other carriers, I'd love to know about it.

* May not be legal in your jurisdiction.

Re:Cel phone jammers! (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747286)

I so wish these were legal in the UK. There are so many ignorant retards about. Train companies here were seriously considering painting windows of the so-called quiet carriages with something that blocks mobile phone signals to stop fuckwits using their phones there, despite the signs all over the place saying "please don't use your phones here".

Re:Cel phone jammers! (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747326)

On one hand I can understand why it's annoying when people use their cellphones in quiet train cars (even though I never use them myself), on the other hand I can understand how people may be reasoning that the purpose of the quiet cars isn't to enforce complete silence but rather to get away from the teenager who insists on chatting on his/her cellphone non-stop and similar annoyances. That is to say, people probably figure "it's supposed to be a quiet car but this call is very important". The problem of course being that what a lot of people consider "important" to themselves just isn't.

Re:Cel phone jammers! (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747566)

Hint; they aren't legal in the US either. And for a good reason. Doctors have started using cellphones instead of pagers and so you shouldn't be blocking them either. If you want to do that, just go for it and make sure you don't get caught.

Re:Cel phone jammers! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747316)

I hate assholes like you. Wile you can feel smug because you shutup the one annoying person, how do you feel about the woman further down trying to connect with her kid, or the doctor trying to manage prescriptions, or the 10 quiet business people just trying to check their email. You fucked up their connections as well. Congratulations, you made the problem even worse by inconveniencing even more people than the original offensive individual.

There's a reason why jammers are illegal, and they are everywhere in the US because they violate FCC regulations.

Re:Cel phone jammers! (4, Insightful)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747458)

how do you feel about the woman further down trying to connect with her kid, or the doctor trying to manage prescriptions, or the 10 quiet business people just trying to check their email. You fucked up their connections as well.

Not to mention anyone else not on the train but still in range of the signal. Running one of those things on a bus or subway is like setting up a big mobile bubble of "fuck you" for everyone in the city.

As gratifying as it might be to dickishly and anonymously kill their signal, the grown up thing to do would be to simply ask the person to pipe down. If the GP is so socially backwards that he can't even manage that, I humbly suggest that he does not belong on public transportation.

Re:Cel phone jammers! (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747750)

Risky. Some people could take such a request badly, even respond violently, and there is no way to know before asking.

Re:Cel phone jammers! (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747428)

I know what you mean, I've been trapped in too many inescapable situations with somebody who couldn't simply ask people to talk quieter instead resorting to passive-aggressive jackassery like jamming a cell phone signal.

This may come as a surprise to you but many people don't actively try to be assholes, nor are they always aware they're inconveniencing someone else with their actions. If something someone is doing bothers you try politely talking to the person to give them a chance to work with you, improve the world a little instead of deliberately being an asshole just because you feel a stranger slighted you.

Re:Cel phone jammers! (3)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747652)

1. not legal in the USA
2. if I caught you I sure as hell would be involving the authorities.

What about the rights of passengers? (1, Interesting)

mrnick (108356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747194)

I understand that driving is a privilege and therefore you give up certain rights when driving. In MA it's illegal to text and drive, don't know how they would actually enforce such a law. I cannot imagine a scenario where it would be illegal for a passenger in a vehicle to do anything with their phone they wanted to. It doesn't sound like this technology is going to differentiate between a driver and a passenger just if the vehicle is moving or not, sounds pretty lame to me!

I don't think technology can fix this it will only frustrate consumers forcing them to go to extra measures to make their devices behave as they want (jailbreaking, etc).

Re:What about the rights of passengers? (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747500)

As a resident of MA, I will say that though I completely support the concept of banning texting while driving, the current law is useless. Even local cops urged the State government to slow down and think, because now they are obligated to enforce an unenforceable law.

"Texting" is illegal. But other phone functions like talking, dialing, or using GPS Nav applications are still legally ok. This makes it functionally impossible to enforce.

Re:What about the rights of passengers? (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747580)

Don't know how they would actually enforce such a law

If you have a serious accident they check your cellphone records. If you just sent a text message before the accident you are totally screwed. Simple really.

Re:What about the rights of passengers? (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747582)

I understand that driving is a privilege and therefore you give up certain rights when driving. In MA it's illegal to text and drive, don't know how they would actually enforce such a law. I cannot imagine a scenario where it would be illegal for a passenger in a vehicle to do anything with their phone they wanted to. It doesn't sound like this technology is going to differentiate between a driver and a passenger just if the vehicle is moving or not, sounds pretty lame to me!

I don't think technology can fix this it will only frustrate consumers forcing them to go to extra measures to make their devices behave as they want (jailbreaking, etc).

Did you even RTF. . . oh forget it. It's an app for your phone! If you passenger doesn't want it, he wouldn't install the app!

One of my least favoriate sayings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747780)

I understand that driving is a privilege and therefore you give up certain rights when driving.

I don't understand this mindset at all. The first time we heard that driving was a privilege it was from our parents because we wanted to borrow the car. We are grown ups now. I don't ask permission to stay out late and I should not have to get permission from 'dad' to borrow the car. The government is not our parents. This driving is a privileged thing is statist bull. It is a right. It might not be enumerated and there are certainly things one can do where due process can be used to restrict that right but it is not a privilege and I don't give up other rights because I am driving.

If we really wanted to use technology... (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747232)

to enforce good behavior, we'd have more of what Rob Halford talks about in 'Blood Red Skies':

Cybernetic heartbeat
Digital precise
Pneumatic fingers nearly had me in their vice


Automatic sniper
With computer sights
Scans the bleak horizon for it's victim of the night

**BING** (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747248)

You have just earned "Drink x Cola Everyday this Week! You earn 500 achievement points!!"

There was a talk by a guy who used to work at Disney as an imagineer who spoke about this type of conditioning and xbox achievement point system and real life. Can't remember what you could search to get it though

Managing Our Own Desires (3, Interesting)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747284)

In one sense, I think the question "Have we entered an era in which electronics serve as mother, cop and coach because we can't manage our own desires?" is flamebait, but, on the other hand, it does pose an interesting question.

First of all, using technology to help humanity - whether it is something major, like producing more/better food, or something minor like making sure we can wake up at the correct time in the morning - is what it is. It's the growth of technology. So, in that respect, nobody is doing anything different than any other person who has had technology...it's just different technology.

However, I find it interesting that the summary posts a question about managing desires. While I know everybody likes to think they are more special than anybody else, and that THEY have no problem managing their desires and wants and needs, all you have to do is pick out any person out of a crowd and there were be SOMETHING that they struggle with. Eating too much. Spending too much. Pornography. Too much time in front of the TV. Overexercising (yes, I know someone who does that). Smoking. Drinking. Whatever. Everybody has something that brings them a great deal of pleasure - so much that they go overboard with it.

So, the question is, is it a bad thing to use this technology that we have at our disposal to get in control of some of our foibles? I would say no. For example, I have a friend who looked at a great deal of pornography. While he enjoyed it, it was greatly affecting his marriage because his wife couldn't live up to the standards he was setting in his mind. In addition, he also neglected his marriage due to his addiction. So, my friend began to use an application on his computer which monitored his web browsing habits. It blocked him where it could, and would email out a weekly email to his wife, myself, and his mother (!!!) regarding websites he visited. When he would screw up, we would be able to call him out on it.

Now, you could say, "Weakling. He should have managed his own impulses." And, I know he wanted to. He knew he was destroying his marriage and didn't want to do that, but, the ease of pornography access was too great for him to resist. He had to control it. Using that application helped a great deal and, after some counseling, he and his wife are happily married. (And, yes, I still receive weekly emails.)

In any case, I think making a statement like, "Have we entered an era in which electronics serve as mother, cop and coach because we can't manage our own desires?" is not only flamebait, it's also seriously judgmental and unrealistic. I do think none of these things should be FORCED on anybody...but there is absolutely no shame in using technology to help control or manage a part of your life that you need help with.

my gps came with this (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747338)

new garmin nuvi. if you try to punch in directions for it to start navigating to, while the car's in motion, it won't let you. You have to go into the settings and disable the safety.

"That's right officer, I was distracted trying to disable my GPS's nav safety feature when I ran into that tree." Wonder how that would turn out for Garmin?

Re:my gps came with this (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747510)

"That's right officer, I was distracted trying to disable my GPS's nav safety feature when I ran into that tree." Wonder how that would turn out for Garmin?

I bet you'd get laughed out of the courtroom, seeing as it's easier to disable the safety feature before you start driving.

Re:my gps came with this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747550)

new garmin nuvi. if you try to punch in directions for it to start navigating to, while the car's in motion, it won't let you. You have to go into the settings and disable the safety.

"That's right officer, I was distracted trying to disable my GPS's nav safety feature when I ran into that tree." Wonder how that would turn out for Garmin?

It would turn out just fine for Garmin. Less so for you. You fail it.

Electric shock (2)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747388)

how about an ap that delivers an electric shock whenever someone uses "like" or "you know" at random places in their speech.

It's like, you know, really irritating when, like, you know, someone constantly stuffs them in, like, you know, multiple times in, like you know, every sentence.

Should really come out as the more satisfying

It's OUCH OUCH really irritating when OUCH OUCH someone constantly stuffs them in OUCH OUCH multiple times in OUCH OUCH every sentence.

Re:Electric shock (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747530)

how about an ap that delivers an electric shock whenever someone uses "like" or "you know" at random places in their speech.

You know, I really like your idea!

Euthyphro for the new millenium? (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747434)

Is it bad because we can't do it or can we not do it because it's bad?

When I started thinking about this I couldn't help but draw connections to the Star Trek episode Return of the Archons where a computerized facsimile of a philosopher (Landru) runs the whole planet, deciding what people should and shouldn't do, making them practically zombies, except for pre-programmed times where the restrictions are lifted (festivals). However, after generations of complete control rigidly enforced at all times by an external agent (as opposed to the more pliant give and take of the individual in society), the people under Landru's control go absolutely batshit nuts during festivals, raping and murdering etc.

I'm forced to wonder if something similar would happen where self-control/discipline is externalized to automation. Doesn't that make the character of those 'users' inherently weaker/less developed? What would happen should the systems be 'down', would the users be able to stop themselves from spending/overeating/whatever after having relied on a machine to be their own conscience for so long (especially having been weak enough in the area to have needed it in the first place)? What prevents scope/mission creep from turning the whole race into behavior-on-rails zombies?

Re:Euthyphro for the new millenium? (1)

neiras (723124) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747848)

What prevents scope/mission creep from turning the whole race into behavior-on-rails zombies?

Hello there, fellow former Ruby developer!

feminism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747446)

...and a program that cuts off credit-card spending.

Wow, now husbands really are redundant in every sense!

Sorry, you must wait awhile to use this resource (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747474)

Hey guys, forget my earlier post was lame. This is the witty one that might get plussed, OK? Hello?

Slap drones! (1)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747574)

Once we get super intelligent AI minds all we'll need are slap drones and social norms enforced by convention in our post scarity, anarchic Culture.

The cookie, will it crumble? (1, Insightful)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747612)

Does ending a news post with a provocative yet insubstantial question guarantee its success? Do all recent Slashdot stories seem to end this way? Find out, right after the break.

Nannystate? (1, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747740)

such as a GPS-enabled app that locks down texting once a car gets rolling

Thanks, but I would like to be able to text while riding as a passenger, and even if I am the driver I still want to see SMS traffic updates. I chose not to text of my own free will prior to the nannystate laws which solve nothing, and still won't text while driving. Go pull someone over for failure to yield, running a stop light, failure to come to a stop at a stop sign, or failure to maintain control of their vehicle and leave my phone the fuck alone.

Thanks.

and a program that cuts off credit-card spending.

I will decide when I have spent enough, thankyouverymuch. I spend a lot but I also pay my bills on time. I don't need you to tell me I can't buy one more blu-ray disc this month, or I can't order more camera gear, etc,. - if AmEx agrees I can handle the financial transactions I choose to engage in, who the fuck are you to decide otherwise?

Personal responsibility, folks. That's all I ask for.

What? No self discipline? (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747796)

I often bemoan the existence of the "snooze" button. An alarm clock is one thing -- a useful tool that nearly anyone who wants to keep their lives on schedule can make use of. And when it comes to not answering the phone or texting while driving? I have a personal policy against that... but have violated that policy once in a while.

Self discipline is tough. It's worth developing though. I have an alarm on my phone for waking up and another for going to work. It's a system that works for me. I don't use the snooze button though. And if I had an app available to me to disable the phone while driving, I would use it.

I had to learn the hard way... a few times... not to get into "bidding wars" on eBay. Now I just set my max bid and walk away. I do things to discipline myself frequently. I am a very successful dieter! But having reminders and other aids to keep you on track is a choice that can be made and helps those who are not naturally so organized. I am just not! I have forgotten my own birthday on occasions, so how can I be expected to remember anyone else's or to do anything else on time without reminders?

I have tried to strengthen some skills in my life that I have finally given up on. Without tampering with my ability to concentrate and focus on problems, (which is something I don't want to compromise) I just find it impossible to have a "sense of time" at all. So you can appreciate just how much my first blackberry phone changed my life! Suddenly my phone was telling me about everything I needed to do.

One might say "can't you just do it for yourself?" To them, I say "nope! I simply cannot." I have tried and whatever ability others may have, I simply do not possess. And the moment I accepted that fact, the less I hated myself.

Okay, to be clear:

I can diet successfully. I can develop and build all sorts of good habits and learn to resist desires. I can, on most occasions, resist driving while using the phone. But I can't be on time without devices reminding me to be. But because I understand that about myself, I can also see how others can have problems with diet, bad habits, addictions and using the phone while driving. We all have our weaknesses. And when there are devices and techniques to help people overcome these weaknesses, I expect people to want to use them. It is those people who know their weaknesses and choose to do nothing about them that really bother me.

Re:What? No self discipline? (1)

TheL0ser (1955440) | more than 3 years ago | (#34747882)

I often bemoan the existence of the "snooze" button.

My line of thinking on the snooze button is: If your alarm goes off, and you have time to hit the snooze button without it mattering, stop setting the alarm early. The fact it's an alarm means nothing if people can say "oh I can wait 10 more minutes".

Like DRM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747832)

Surely these kind of things can only be bad...

The problem is not people doing bad/unethical things but the fact that people want to do those things.

By putting on a technological restriction (like GPS-based speed limiter or anti-texting mechanism) you only annoy people, further dilute their freedom and cause problems elsewhere.

Because a world where every little thing you want to do is restricted by a machine, as perfect as it may look on paper is exceedingly boring and not worth living in.

Someone will come up with prior art, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34747888)

I remember seeing this around 1991 (not saying this is when it was invented, just when I first saw it), where many MUDs (kids, think of this as the progenitor of MMORPGs) had a kick-your-self-off feature, where you could tell the game, "Don't let me play again until this date" for addicts who couldn't control themselves. This was presumably so that people wouldn't fail to do their homework, get themselves fired, etc.

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