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Your Personal Placebo Profile

During their work on the Future of Persuasion, my colleagues in the Technology Horizons program developed the idea of a personal persuasion profile - that, in effect, each of us will be profiled based on the kinds of pitches, targeting and information we're most likely to respond to, that, over time, will follow us around in our virtual lives.

Language Mining is the New Health (and Marketing) Tool

I've been really enjoying James Pennebaker's new book The Secret Life of Pronouns, which provides a great, readable overview of how subtle shifts in word choice--frequently, shifts in the use of pronouns from "we" to "I"--can reveal significant differences in emotional, and consequently, physical health.

SIGNALS: Reprogrammable Chips, Super Corn, Transport, Robot Pharmacists, Indoor Location, Bots, NFC, Flesh, Robot Farmers

  • Reprogrammable Chips Could Enable Instant Gadget Upgrades (source
  • The Battle Royale for Super Corn (source)
  • Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area: Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system (
FutureCast - Full Podcast: Dean Eckles on Mobile Persuasion

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Listen to the full podcast of Lyn Jeffery in conversation with Dean Eckles, discussing how we interact socially through communication technologies as well as the “social” relationships we have with the technologies themselves.

SIGNALS: Adaptive Power, AltEnergy, TechTYF, Persuasion, IFTFRobots, KidsTech

  • Beijing to pinpoint and trail citizens via cellphone (Source)
  • ARPA-E: How the Government Agency With a Name Out of Lost Could "Win the Future" and Save Humanity (Source
  • Good Issue 022: The Energy Issue (

Interface Overload

One key strategy for making feedback more persuasive is to use real-time, contextually appropriate feedback. In other words, don't tell me that, in general, it's a good idea to drink water to improve my health; give me a reminder to drink water when my body is starting to get dehydrated. Which, oddly, is the concept behind a new water bottle highlighted by the excellent Crave blog on cnet.

FutureCast: Dean Eckles on Mobile Persuasion (Oct 14, 12pm PT)

Join Lyn Jeffery in conversation with Dean Eckles, discussing how we interact socially through communication technologies as well as the “social” relationships we have with the technologies themselves.

Previewing Your Future Self

A few months ago, I highlighted a treadmill at Japanese gyms that flashes pictures of desserts at exercisers as they hit certain calorie counts in order to keep them motivated. Want that milkshake? Just run another half hour.

Telling Stories About Chemicals

The Boston Globe this week ran a great feature noting that as the ability to pinpoint causes of the placebo effect, as well as medical concerns that seem to respond well to placebos increases, doctors face an increasingly difficult practical and ethical question: Should they use placebos as part of their regular medical practice? Or, as Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow frames the question, "if the placebo effect can help patients, shouldn’t we start putting it to work?"

Your Friends as Salespeople

Via Springwise comes word of an interesting marketing ploy from Domino's Pizza: They've developed a widget that you can place on your social networking profile, blog or other online presence, which your friends can then click on in order to order a pizza. For every order, you get 0.5 percent of the sale. Think of it as affiliate marketing meets social networking.

The logic behind the widget, as Springwise puts it, is fairly straightforward:

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