GeneralPavlov Poke shocks, then sets MTurks upon hopeless Facebook addicts

Pavlov Poke shocks, then sets MTurks upon hopeless Facebook addicts

What’s this Pavlov Poke that everyone’s talking about? You’ve heard of Facebook Poke before. And you’ve heard of Apple’s iPhone 4 antennagate fix before. All three seem to have a vague connection that’s hard to recall. So let us spell it out.

They are based on Pavlovian conditioning. A friend keeps sending you a shockingly rude text each time you fail to return his/her Facebook Poke, the iPhone 4 gives you a powerful shock when you hold it the wrong way (check out this hilarious report on BBspot, it never gets old if you remember the context). And now the Pavlov Poke fires a jolt of electricity up your palm if you spend too much time on a website.

The end result is that you should eventually learn to respond correctly in all three situations. The Pavlov Poke uses Daniel McDuff’s and Robert R. Morris’s (MIT PhD candidates) ‘shock mechanism’ to send currents up the user’s palm. The whole setup requires an Arduino single-board microcontroller, metal strips affixed to the keyboard palmrest, a processing code and software to monitor the sites or applications being accessed on the concerned PC.

Just in case your Facebook addiction proves stronger than the Pavlov Poke’s electrifying charms, there’s one bit of hope left – Amazon Mechanical Turks. You can have a person working for the crowd sourcing marketplace to call you up and nag you into getting off the social network. The entire thing sounds like an April Fool’s Day gimmick, doesn’t it?

But maybe this news is really about how much time people waste on websites like Facebook and Twitter. At any rate, it’d be best not to take it too seriously.

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