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I’m shocked!

Really, I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it. I thought it was a joke, somebody was trying to pull my legs. But after visiting a few web site and cross checking it might be true: someone feels he can sell a wristband to check on you and if you disappoint it … it zaps you with a 340V shock!
Meet Pavlok.
Suppose you are willing to spend 229$ on this nice wristband. It comes equipped with an app you can have on your iPhone or Android phone. With this app you set your training goals, like visiting the gym 3 times a week, running 6 km every day and so on.
Now you are all set. You wear Pavlok and it monitors you exchanging information with your cell phone via a Bluetooth connection. If you fail to meet "your" expectation you will be paying a fine to a bank in the web. If on the other hand you are doing your job nicely you get rewarded by receiving money (from that same bank: I guess the business model relies on the fact that there are more lazy people than reliable ones…). 
It is not just about economics. It is also about your self esteem and other people see in you! Be good and on the Pavlok website you get a high five, fail to meet your expectations and you’ll be exposed to everybody’s blame (and there it goes privacy…).
We are not done. Maneesh Sethi the inventor of Pavlok (you can look at him in the clip) is convinced that you need a stronger motivation to perform. Hence the idea of giving you a nice zapping: Pavlok will strike your wrist with a 340V jolt that according to Maneesh it is similar to the jolt you may get sometimes with a static discharge when you touch a doorknob after a jog. Not too bad but bad enough that it teaches you to be straight next time. Actually, I guess the name, Pavlok, has been chosen because of the assonance with Pavlov. Ivan Pavlov, awarded the Nobel laureate in 1904 for his studies on physiology of digestion,  discovered that specific stimuli can generate a specific reaction that remains even when the stimuli go away. The idea here is that if Pavlok zaps you a few times if you under perform, you will be conditioned "to perform".
There are plenty of good reasons to buy a Pavlok and he is careful to tell them to you in the video. But I should say I won’t be in the line to get it later this year when it will hit the market.
And although at the EIT ICT Labs we have people working on proactive Health and Well being by using wearable and ICT I am glad to report that none of the ongoing activities is planning to deliver you a zap anytime soon.

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the New Initiative Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He is a member of the IEEE in 2050 Ad Hoc Committee. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.