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Enslaved by a Wristband July 27, 2014

Posted by geoff in News.

Pavlok fist

The Pavlok shocking wristband (photo from Pavlok.com).

A good friend of mine (and frequent lurker here at IB) is tethered to one of those wristband thingies that nags you into walking/exercising enough every day. It doesn’t understand injury, sickness, bad weather, travel, or any of the other real-life issues that can interrupt an exercise schedule. If you obey the wristband, you get a discount on health insurance.

It’s become a big part of his life, but he doesn’t seem to mind and I can’t say that it’s not doing him some good. But still…being monitored every second of every day for your compliance with an insurance company’s exercise mandate doesn’t smack of freedom, independence, and America to me.

And then there are those slippery slopes, which appear to be very slippery indeed. Are you ready for wristbands that shock you when you don’t exercise?

A wristband, called the ‘Pavlok’, is a new wearable device that would give “shocking” reminders in order to motivate people to workout and stay healthy.

Maneesh Sethi, the creator of the device, said that the device would have features to incentivize working out including a small zap for when people miss a workout, the ABC News reported.

So how long until these are mandatory?


1. Retired Geezer - July 27, 2014

So how long until these are mandatory?

*jaw drop

2. geoff - July 27, 2014

Some people are excited about sliding down that slope:

We believe that within the next few years, we’ll see wearables expand to track continuous health data – heart rate, blood sugar, blood pressure, stress levels, respiration, brainwaves, posture, and even muscle activity.

These trackers will also evolve from one-way passive reading to two-way reading and “writing,” where these wearables will be able to stimulate neural connections through electricity and ultrasound to write new code for the brain.

3. lauraw - July 27, 2014

It’s going to be nearly impossible to consume and digest a hobo undetected anymore.

Sure, they SAY they’re not going to use the technology to restrict the activities of ‘sportspeople.’ But you know that’s what they say until they get just past the next click of the ever-tightening ratchet of tyranny.

4. 20 million dead soviets - July 27, 2014

I can’t think of any downside.

5. Mr. Matamoros - July 28, 2014


6. Pupster - July 28, 2014

Good lord. Just get the chip implanted and be done with it.

Mine better have an axillary endorphin push button.

7. Cathy - July 28, 2014

No wrest for the wrist-band wearer!

8. skinbad - July 28, 2014

Mine better have an axillary endorphin push button.

Could you also connect it to a hydraulic pump system?

A friend wants to know.

9. Mattrix007 - July 28, 2014

Gamification is usually a good thing, as long as the outcome is deemed a good outcome. So long as hobo eating is frowned upon by the Man and the Establishment, then, THEY are not going to incentivize the practice.

The tether of which you speak is on my wrist, too, and I am to blame for your esteemed colleague’s leash.

But unlike the Pavlovian one, the Fitbit inspires competition and completist urges and for the most part, is positive reinforcement.

For someone who wants the stick instead of the carrot, I am available for hire and even have my own motivation stick. I do bar mitzvahs, too.

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/06/30/stepping-out-3 was pretty funny on taking it a little further than Mr. M^2.does.

10. Mattrix007 - July 28, 2014

OH, and “all hail Hypnotoad…”

11. Mattrix007 - July 28, 2014

I’m guessing you’ve never heard of things like stikk.com …

Make a goal, post it on the site, get a referee who will narc you out if you fail to do your goal, and put a painful-to-lose-amount-of-money in escrow for a cause or charity you HATE.

They say people will do much more to not lose than they will to gain.

12. geoff - July 29, 2014

I was wondering the other day if there was a Hypnotoad app for the iPhone. Or a Hypnotoad ring tone.

13. geoff - July 29, 2014

…and the answer is – of course there is.

14. Mr. Matamoros - July 29, 2014
15. Mr. Matamoros - July 29, 2014

Points finger at geoff…makes “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” noise…

16. daveintexas - July 29, 2014

I want morphine

17. geoff - July 29, 2014

“I will not go to second level with you!”

18. Michael - July 29, 2014

Once these gizmos are implanted (as Pupster proposed), I suspect they will all have the “serial number” of 666.

19. geoff - July 31, 2014

Nice related article at The Telegraph on “booze bracelets.”

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