Growing up, humans are conditioned by their parents to eat their veggies, brush their teeth, say ‘please and thank you’, study hard and do their homework, say their prayers, be good little republicans or democrats, and save their pennies. Of course, most of this Pavlovean conditioning did not succeed unless accompanied by certain incentives, both pleasant and/or unpleasant.
British technology firm Intelligent Environments has morphed existing technology into a device that can continue that adolescent conditioning paradigm into human adulthood. Pavlok, seen below, is a wearable device that links to the wearer’s bank or credit-card accounts via a platform the company calls Interact IoT (internet of things). When it becomes evident the wearer is about to over draw or is spending beyond their means, the device delivers an electric shock to the wearer. This electric shock ranges from “pleasant to slightly uncomfortable”, says the company.
The way Pavlok works is the wearer logs into his or her bank or credit-card account, which connects the wristband, and sets a cash limit. When the wearer nears that spending limit, a notification is sent via phone. If that is missed or ignored and the spending limit is exceeded, the wearer gets shocked.
Intelligent Environments plans to make Pavlok available in the near future. Managing director of Intelligent Environments, David Webber claims, “With cashless payment methods such as contactless direct debits and Apple Pay, it’s unsurprising we lose track of spending, so we decided to solve this by enabling smart devices to manage our overspending for us. This means customers can now get complete control and oversight of their finances without having to lift a finger.”
Pavlock is based on similar devices that have been used to help users quit bad habits, such as smoking, overeating, nose picking, etc. But on the bright side, if you are one of those rare individuals who are physically, financially, and psychologically fit, you can always get a Pavlok and wear it on your ankle …. just to see what it feels like to be under house arrest. ~MD