Post 9: "Keep Left"
Updated: Mar 23, 2019
It is true that the role of Technology is to ease our lives by saving us time, fatigue and sometimes money. One example of a technology that we nowadays take for granted is the use of elevators or escalators instead of taking the stairs.
If we look at this technology a bit closer we can count many ramifications for human’s lives that concerns our own heath but also our economy.
Where do we meet these facilities? In new train stations, in shopping centres, in tall buildings.
And what do we often see as an instruction in advance. “keep left” , “keep right”
Very often taking the stairs is not an option.
The way to the staircase is hidden or suggested for emergency cases.
This brings us to a new habit of reduced activity, which is not very good for our health. For this reason we have another technology that reminds us to be active and walk and be fit.
We all have a tracking system in our smartphones that calculate our steps and impel us to exercise. So the one technology ease our lives and create the need of a new technology that fill what the first one took out of our lives, the fitness and activity. To me this is such a vicious circle.
On the other hand the use of escalators and lifts and signs that design our motion on public spaces, control after all the crowd flow. On top of that this controlled traffic serve the marketing industries that put advertisements where the crowds wait to take the lift, inside the lift, or along the walls of the escalators. I dare to conclude that the use of this technology, that we love and take so much for granted, facilitate the needs of capitalism.
Finally, there is one more industry that wins from this story, the gym and fitness industries. Well the time you gain from taking the escalator or elevator, you spend it in the gym to cover the activity that you loss during your day.
I am definitely not the one to say “take the stairs” but it is nice to think how technology often effect our individual lives but also a society and its economy.
Thinking of a disobedient electronics in response to use the stairs:
Instead of a simple tracking steps system, an interactive tracking step system:
A tracking application representing individual's body/health system, that will feedback positive messages when you take the stairs. Notifications with smiling emojis, or positive phrases like “ you are amazing”, “you look great today”, “thank you for keeping me healthy” for every 30-50 steps you are taking.
Suri, G., Sheppes, G., Leslie, S. and Gross, J. (2014). Stairs or escalator? Using theories of persuasion and motivation to facilitate healthy decision making. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 20(4), pp.295-302.
Mentalfloss.com. (2019). People Really, Really Don’t Like Taking the Stairs. [online] Available at: http://mentalfloss.com/article/66071/people-really-really-dont-taking-stairs [Accessed 24 Jan. 2019].