Persuasive technologies

In chapter 5 (5.5, page 196) the topic of persuasive technologies is mentioned.  This form of “technology” to me is interesting, because at least where I come from, it has very mixed results.  Sometimes the original meanings of even having the technology put in place is lost, and a new, unrelated reason starts up.

When I was a kid I had one of those Pokemon Pikachu virtual pets.  At first I played with it the way it was supposed to be played.  I had to feed it, and “walk” it (I think you had to actually physically walk it, right?), and it had its time to sleep (which seemed to be more than me…  I always wanted to play, but nooo, virtual pikachu had to dream 0’1 and 1’s all day long).  It was a good way to waste time, and as a game, it was kind of fun.

If you did not feed it or play with it, or walk it, would start to get frustrated with you.  Soon it would become unresponsive, and non-vocally or actively abusive.  It’s almost like it would play mindgames, because it still didn’t play with you just like before, but instead of having to sleep as the reason, it just glared at you.  This turned into a new game all in itself.

This new game was fun, especially with all my friends that had the same toy.  The object was not how to make Pikachu happy, but how quickly you could get him to get frustrated and run away from home.  Soon, people in my class that didn’t have one to begin with got it for that specific purpose.

I guess the point here is, for a lot of these persuasive technologies, the actual technologies can be used for other reasons that do not get the original point accross.  Instead, they can be “misused” to actually provide results and games that are more fun than the original intention of the technology.  The other example of the water use graphs in the family’s house shows the same idea in practice.  Except the game of beating everybody actually stays in line with the original intention of the technology: it saves money.