If you've ever slowed down after seeing a "Your Speed" digital radar display strategically placed by local police, you've experienced the power of a real-time feedback loop. In 2011, Thomas Goetz's Wired article, titled "Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops," predicted technology would eventually provide these feedback loops for everyday habits. "The true power of feedback loops is not to control people but to give them control," Goetz asserted.
Technology is on the verge of providing feedback loops for virtually any type of behavior. In the near future, sensors including wristbands, smart watches, and smartphones will be able to track patterns of movement tied to specific behaviors. Using time, location, and motion data, combined with data from the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence could provide a feedback loop just prior to you smoking that cigarette, eating that piece of chocolate, or drinking that third cup of coffee.
In addition to technology-assisted nudges, we can improve our motivation to change behavior through gamification, a technique many applications use to improve user engagement. People could holistically gamify their habits by integrating their feedback loops into a common platform like Grade Your Day. Nudges stand a better chance of changing behavior when the activity is linked to a comprehensive self-improvement program.
We plan to iterate Grade Your Day around the concept of integrating feedback loops in ways that motivate users to achieve their daily goals and avoid unwanted behaviors. We think this is the best way to help people find their path toward personal growth.