Facebook was originally made by college students, and now two postgraduates from MIT are saying they have had enough. Doctoral candidates Robert Morris and Dan McDuff claim that they waste a collective 50 hours a week on the social media site, so to combat their addiction they created a keyboard accessory, the Pavlov Poke, that shocks you every time you go onto the site.
The Pavlov Poke takes inspiration from the famous conditioning experiment by Ivan Pavlov, but instead of dogs, it is scientists who are being conditioned. In a promo video (below), McDuff explains:
It monitors application usage and if you spend to much time on a particular website or application it will give you a shock. The shock is unpleasant but not dangerous.
While the creators admit that their invention is slightly a joke, it addresses a prevalent debate surrounding social media – whether it actually does us any good. Many people face a daily struggle to avoid social media while working, and some begin to feel depressed just from using the site. Explains Morris on his site:
All too often, people assume they use a given technology because they want to and because it is in their best self-interest. Unfortunately, this assumption does not align with how these technologies are designed. Sites like Facebook are crafted on the basis of something called engagement metrics, which measure the number of daily active users, the time people spend on the site, etc. Unfortunately, these metrics are not designed to assess well-being. A product can have incredibly high engagement metrics, and yet be extremely bad for its users (cigarettes, for example).
Watch the Pavlov Poke in action in the video below: