Mobile Chatbot Helps People Defeat Their Addictions In Private
Onward is a new app that helps people overcome their addictions through digital companionship and monitoring
Addictions are hard to quit — which is why so many people spend an enormous amount of time and money trying different strategies to manage them. Onward is an addiction management app is designed to equip people with the tools to overcome their compulsive habits. Using tech and data science, the app aims to empower actionable change in users’ lives.
Gabe Zichermann, one of the app’s co-founders, admits that he had previously looked to behavioral science and technology to create addictive experiences geared towards engaging consumers. Now, he wants to focus on how AI can help alleviate addiction problems and provide users with the tools to manage their compulsive habits.
The Onward team works with clinical advisors to design specialized programs related to overconsumption of certain behaviors, such as porn, shopping or online screen time. The app has the ability to block any problem sites and has an AI coach available, with a trigger help option. In addition, it checks up on the user daily to see how he or she is doing, while offering specific tips on how to deal with the addiction. With the user’s permission, the app also has the ability to track habits and builds an analysis of them. This heightens the users’ own awareness of their habits, making it possible to track progress and be more careful about their approach.
Onward believes that technology can work in a way that can help people improve their behavior for the better. Instead of spending ridiculous amounts of money on a potential time-consuming method, this app is a simpler and cheaper solution. Although the current platform focuses on assisting with addictions related to screen time, the team is working on more research to branch out into other addictions. Their motto is to help people achieve a “tech-life balance,” which is no easy feat in today’s always-on world.