Although the Apple Watch is able to measure health responses – could there be a more sinister undertone to the business model?
Mad Men shows us the change in the marketing industry. Where products used to be sold on their quality, they are now being sold using emotions. Or trickery. Depending on your perspective.
Digital deception is upping the game of emotional trickery because you can monitor the response and track the data. The dubiously named “neuromarketing” measures physiological responses and does classical A/B testing.
nuviun interviewed Ronald Voorn, a marketing guru who is now writing a book called Vodoo Marketing on the dark side of the persuasion industry.
The Internet has no governance model other than corporate ownership and sales. Are there ethical boundaries that are being crossed?
Is Apple Really Interested in Your Health?
The Apple Watch can measure your temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. These are all proxies of your emotional responses. Data on your emotional responses is pooled together with your web surfing and mobile usage data.
The Googles and Apples of this world are giving fantastic products, many for free. If they are for free, why are they the richest companies in the planet? Data - for marketing.
Nudging for Good
But if we know how changing your environment influences us then do we have an moral obligation to help people reach the goals they chose. For example, people generally want to eat healthily. If we know that putting the salad bar first in a school canteen do we not have a responsibility to put the salad bar first?
Nobel prize winner Kahneman rocked economics with his psychology training. He looked at human (ir)rationality in economic contexts. Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, colleagues of Kahneman, moved the subject along by writing Nudge. A book exploring the art of persuasion for health and happiness. Dan Ariely gave an iconic TED talk on based on his book - Predictably Irrational. The playfully nicknamed UK governmental Nudge Unit a.k.a. The Behaviour Insights Team led by Owain Service is using behavioural science to get people to pay their taxes and act in the interest of the greater good.
Although apparently with good intentions, the media backlash accusing these Nudge initiatives of manipulation are sizeable. Unusually the classically right leaning UK bodies and the left leaning USA bodies are coming up with the manipulation argument.
But perhaps we should not aim our attention to the explicit nudge initiatives, but take a closer look at the gurus. The marketing masters have been at it for decades, and the Apple watch physiological monitoring is going to facilitate sales efficiency.