Ambient Displays and Persuasive Computing

17 Feb

An Ambient display can be a successful persuasive computing solution to encourage more environmentally sustainable behaviour. Persuasive computing is a computer system that is designed to change attitudes and behaviours. The properties of ambient displays facilitate effective persuasion. They are not invasive or annoying and have the ability to be mobile therefore broadening the range of targetable behaviours. This allows a behaviour to be targeted more effectively by providing immediate, direct feedback at the right time, and even persuading incrementally as people encounter the display repeatedly over time (ADAPT: Audience Design of Ambient Persuasive Technology). Immediate feedback is a key factor in the effectiveness of operant conditioning. Operant conditioning posits that the form and frequency of behavior can be effected by controlling the consequences. To effect a change in behavior in operant conditioning, we must be able to administer some sort of meaningful consequences to the user. (Reflecting Human Behavior to Motivate Desirable Lifestyle).

Ambient displays can be used as a tool to motivate behavioral change. “Ambient lifestyle feedback systems are embedded computer systems designed to motivate changes in a person’s lifestyle by reflecting an interpretation of targeted behavior back to the person. Other interactive systems including ”serious games” have been applied for the same purpose in areas such as nutrition, health and energy conservation, but they suffer from drawbacks such as inaccurate self-reporting, burdens placed on the user, and lack of effective feedback. Ambient lifestyle feedback systems overcome these challenges by relying on passive observation, calm presentation style and emotionally engaging feedback”. It may be more effective to promote energy awareness by attempting to alter human behavior rather than developing a technology to fix the issue. Ambient displays could be used “to bring about lifestyle changes in mundane daily activities. We felt that in this area ubiquitous computing technologies could provide new possibilities. Ubiquitous computing is already used in areas such as health, hygiene and food safety to directly address and fix people’s problems. We focused on areas where improvement requires a change in voluntary human behavior. A key promise of ubiquitous computing is that it allows us to design systems that are almost invisible to the user, which turns out to be advantageous in persuasive technology” (Reflecting Human Behavior to Motivate Desirable Lifestyle).

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