Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cap This

Have we heard of everything yet? I mean, reading what this guy Fogg has to say about computers as persuasive technology, it seems pure common sense. But now that he has written a whole book about it, everyone will have a reason to implement it - and especially those part of "persuasion" that he worries about most and talks about least: the unethical ones.
I was looking for stuff on censorship at my local uni library. Persuasion wasn't on my mind at all; I was so upset by the erosion of free speech, the sudden disappearance of freedom of access to, and use of, information, that I decided my coming article in SAJIM was going to be precisely about that.
But coincidence, or is it fate - qadar - had it otherwise. Instead of finding anything of use on censorship, I found a book titled "Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What People Think and Do." So now I am writing a review on "captology" instead, and will move from persuasion to information manipulation to mis-information to lack of any. That should do for all the four issues of 2005.
The book is GOOD! It isn't written for techies, but for anyone interested in persuasion (that covers healthshop owners to shadier characters). I just wish Fogg wasn't so obssessive about his own health - almost every second page has an example of his jogging, health eating, heart monitoring, etc. In the end you envision Dr. Fogg as this cleanly shaven, muscular Yank with a square jaw and square shins.
After I wrote this, and then searched Google for a photo of his: ok, clean shaven, square jaw, Yank. Young. Will stay Yankie Young for long if he keeps persuading himself well, I assume. Somehow, the stereotyping beast in me expected a bispectacled nerd at Standford :-)

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