As June rolls up — and Christmas suddenly presents itself as a problem that will have to be solved in six months — many Americans will resolve that, instead of hitting the plastic this year, they will start saving a little bit here and there, so as to make sure their holiday account is ready to roll.
One summer vacation, a few trips to a farmers’ market, an amusement park, a few museums, a summer camp bill and a lot of big, dumb, loud blockbusters (with a lot of buttery $20 popcorn) later and that plan is in tatters. Not only have you failed to save money for Christmas, but somehow, you’ve overdrawn your bank account and still have school shopping to get to.
If this sounds like your life, good news, there is a wearable for you. It’s called Pavlok, and it’s a device we’ve written about before. Best and most basically described as the behaviorism bracelet, the Pavlok shocks you when you do the wrong thing with 255 volts of discomfort. The wrong thing being defined by the wearer, who is trying to curb a habit. Ignore your alarm clock? Zap! Dawdle on the Internet too long? Zap!
Its name is a tribute to Ivan Pavlov, the father of behaviorism, who famously made a dog salivate by ringing a bell after training it by ringing a bell every time it presented food.
We assume Skinner Shockers did not test as well with focus groups.
And now, financially responsible can officially be added to the list of things Pavlok can force consumers into being by teaching them to associate their faults with pain.
The Pavlok can now be tied to a user’s bank account, and when the account falls below a certain number, the bracelet sends the shock to remind customers that perhaps they should be spending more slowly.
“Willpower is great if you’ve got it — not everybody has,” said David Webber, CEO of Intelligent Environments, the banking technology firm behind the prototype.
So far, no banks are offering this along with checking accounts. Toasters seem to scare people less.