With the advent of technology, such as the internet and social media, the ability of various corporations and governments to monitor the behaviors of the masses in an effort to manipulate and exploit the behaviors of individuals for the accumulation of wealth and control has never been easier to obtain. Behold the future, where behavioral science meets gaming theory. Applications like Carrot Rewards have been carefully created to keep the masses behaving "appropriately", such as healthy eating and taking the flu shot.
The free app — which already has a quarter of a million Ontarians signed up — has received a $1.5 million boost from the Ontario government. The Carrot Rewards app provides information and gives users a chance to earn points by answering short surveys and builds up user profiles, and “the beauty about the app is once it knows you well, it can target you with much more specific (information),” said Andreas Souvaliotis, the CEO of Carrot Insights, in a telephone interview.
The points plans available include Aeroplan, Petro Points, Scene (Cineplex) and More Rewards.
The app is already in use in British Columbia and Newfoundland/Labrador, and the federal government also jumped on board, pledging $5 million to cover the cost of the initial sign-up points and the bonus rewarded for referring friends.
The creators of the app claim the digital platform is encouraging and incentivizing "healthy" choices, and helping to improve the overall health and well-being of people across the province in an easy and fun fashion.
Given this information, and taking into account what we should have learned from our mistakes, as history repeats itself, we should be asking ourselves, "is the government invested in this app for the societies best interest?" Or is this considered social engineering?
The Worst Case Scenario
Cross, J. (2017). Ontario gives $1.5M to Carrot Rewards app to help people make healthy choices | Toronto Star. thestar.com. Retrieved 19 July 2017, from https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/07/06/ontario-gives-15m-to-carrot-rewards-app-to-help-people-make-healthy-choices.html
(2017). Carrot Rewards. Retrieved 19 July 2017, from https://www.carrotrewards.ca/home/
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