A new wave of technology is emerging that not only collects data but also prompts users to take action on it. This technology, known as persuasive technology, is designed to change people’s attitudes or behaviours through persuasion and social influence. It’s not just about providing information, but about motivating and guiding users to achieve their goals.

For instance, a fitness tracker might not just log your steps, but also remind you to walk if you’ve been inactive. Similarly, a personal finance app might not just track your spending, but also nudge you to save money. The goal is to help people make positive changes in their lives, whether it’s getting fit, saving money, or even learning a new language.

Yet, the rise of persuasive technology has sparked debate. Critics argue that it can be manipulative, exploiting psychological techniques to influence people’s behaviour. They also worry about privacy, as these technologies often rely on collecting and analysing personal data.

Despite these concerns, proponents of persuasive technology believe it can be a powerful tool for good. By harnessing the power of technology, they argue, we can help people make better decisions and improve their lives. The challenge is to ensure that it is used responsibly, respecting people’s autonomy and privacy.

Go to source article: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/technology/technology-that-prods-you-to-take-action-not-just-collect-data.html?smprod=nytcore-ipad&smid=nytcore-ipad-share