Hacking the Human Mind

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Why technology is destroying our willpower, making us permanently distracted, and what I've been building to help us get some back. Read more at http://www.kpkaiser.com/

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Hacking the Human Mind

  1. 1. Hacking the Human Mind Kirk Kaiser http://www.kpkaiser.com @burningionWednesday, December 12, 12
  2. 2. “The intelligent want self-control, children want candy. - RumiWednesday, December 12, 12
  3. 3. About Me • Software Developer for 13 Years • Developed Privacy Software Downloaded over 240,000 Times • Active Writer, Blogs Have Been Featured on Front Page of Hacker News, Reddit, CNN, and Digg. • Studied with a Zen Buddhist in Vermont for a Year • Spent the Past Two Years Building Electronic Hardware and Software to Measure and Improve the Human Mind with ComputersWednesday, December 12, 12
  4. 4. The ProblemWednesday, December 12, 12
  5. 5. Ooh a Notification!Wednesday, December 12, 12
  6. 6. The Exploding Distractedness of Our Lives • Amount of Data Created In Computers Doubles Every 1.2 years1 • 12% of All Boys Between 3-17 Years of Age Now Diagnosed with ADHD2 • 20% of Smartphone Users Check Phone Every 10 Minutes3 • Multitasking Shown to Lower IQ By 10 Points4 • American Teens Send an Average of 3,417 Text Messages Per Month5 1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-silva/the-era-of-big-data-is-he_b_1606914.html 2. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2011, Appendix III, table VI  [PDF - 711 KB 3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/16/smartphone-addiction-time-survey_n_1791790.html 4. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-08-10/news/ct-oped-0811-multitask-20100810_1_iqs-study- information-overload 5. http://www.tatango.com/blog/who-sends-more-text-messages/Wednesday, December 12, 12
  7. 7. From Pong to Battlefield 3 in 40 YearsWednesday, December 12, 12
  8. 8. Wednesday, December 12, 12
  9. 9. 64 Players Online at Once, Using Tanks, Jeeps, F-16s, Apache Helicopters, Land mines, Medical Devices, C4, Sniper Rifles, Survival Knifes, Anti-Aircraft Machine Guns, and more to occupy five different territories.Wednesday, December 12, 12
  10. 10. Psychologists Now Hired to Design Games for AddictivenessWednesday, December 12, 12
  11. 11. Psychological Addictiveness Built into Games • Skinner Boxes (Random Item Drops) • Variable Ratio Reinforcement (Skill Kills) • Leader boards • 6 Second Rule (Flash a sparkle every 6 seconds) Farmville (Target Market 40-60 Year Old Women) • Social Pressure (Ask friends for help)Wednesday, December 12, 12
  12. 12. What is the COST of this DISTRACTEDNESS?Wednesday, December 12, 12
  13. 13. WILLPOWER & FOCUSWednesday, December 12, 12
  14. 14. WILLPOWER HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE A FINITE RESOURCE WHICH IS DEPLETED BY DECISION MAKING1 1. Gailliot, Matthew T., and Roy F. Baumeister. “The Physiology of Willpower: Linking Blood Glucose to Self-Control.” Personality and Social Psychology Review 11 no. 4 (2007): 303-27.Wednesday, December 12, 12
  15. 15. WILLPOWER DRAINING OPTIONS EVERYWHERE.Wednesday, December 12, 12
  16. 16. Simply Put: Technology has grown faster than our mind’s ability to manage constant technological stimulation. Nearly every piece of technology we touch in our daily lives is willpower depleting.Wednesday, December 12, 12
  17. 17. With the Loss of Willpower We’re Losing the Ability to Control and Direct OurselvesWednesday, December 12, 12
  18. 18. The Solution: Using Technology to Manage Our Minds More Effectively in the Face of New ThreatsWednesday, December 12, 12
  19. 19. Brand New Research on Meditation • Increases Attention Span1 • Sharpens Focus1 • Improves Memory1 • Dulls the Perception of Pain1 • Slows Age Related Thinning of the Prefrontal Cortex2 • Helps Build Willpower3 1. http://journals.lww.com/neurologynow/Fulltext/2012/08040/Meditation_as_Medicine.9.aspx 2. Cranson, Robert W., et al. "Transcendental Meditation and improved performance on intelligence-related measures: a longitudinal study." Personality and Individual Differences 12.10 (1991): 1105-1116. 3. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/living-well/articles/2010/04/27/bad-health-habits-rob-12- years-from-life-span-6-ways-to-boost-willpowerWednesday, December 12, 12
  20. 20. “In a behavioral delay-of-gratification task with 8th graders, (willpower) accounted for more than twice as much variance as IQ in final grades, high school selection, school attendance, hours spent doing homework, hours spent watching television and the hour of the day students began their homework.”1 1. Duckworth, Angela L., and Martin EP Seligman. "Self-discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents." Psychological Science 16.12 (2005): 939-944.Wednesday, December 12, 12
  21. 21. WILLPOWER = The Key to SuccessWednesday, December 12, 12
  22. 22. So WHY Aren’t We All MEDITATING?Wednesday, December 12, 12
  23. 23. Chicken Or the Egg Problem: Don’t Have the Willpower to Start Building Our WillpowerWednesday, December 12, 12
  24. 24. Making Meditation Seductive and Effective • Making Meditation Measurable (Can I eliminate the Woo Woo?) • Recording Physiology of Users (Quantify Changes in Physiology So We Can Improve) • Providing Direct Feedback (Am I meditating properly? -> Via Audio, Visuals) • Social Feedback (How Am I Doing Relative to My Peers?)Wednesday, December 12, 12
  25. 25. So What Happens When We Meditate? • Skin Temperature Raised (Master Monks, Up to 17 Degrees in Fingers and Toes)1 • Decreases Galvanic Skin Response2 • Heart Rate Variance Goes Up3 • Increases Gamma Waves on an EEG4 • Lowers Blood Pressure5 1. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/04.18/09-tummo.html 2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21417807 3.http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~ssp/Reports/2003/Matzner.pdf 4. http:// www.businessinsider.com/how-scientists-figured-out-who-the-worlds-happiest-man-is-2012-11 5. Alexander C.N., et al. Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness, and longevity: An experimental study with the elderly. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57:950-964, 1989.Wednesday, December 12, 12
  26. 26. Building the Platform to Measure MeditationWednesday, December 12, 12
  27. 27. Building the First Prototype • Measures Galvanic Skin Response, Skin Temperature, and Heart Rate • Provides Audio Feedback When a Deeper Meditative State Is Reached • Records All Data, So Meditation Can Be Tracked Over TimeWednesday, December 12, 12
  28. 28. Measuring Your Meditation • By Measuring Your Physiology, We Can Track Your Focus Levels Through Time • You Can Become Aware of What Deeper Levels of Relaxation Feel Like • Making It Easier for You To Recreate the Deepest Levels of Meditation LaterWednesday, December 12, 12
  29. 29. Drawbacks From Initial Prototype • Must Be Attached to Computer • Wires Can Be Uncomfortable, Easy to Get Tangled • Setting Up Computer is Distracting • Too Much Effort to Get Going • Not Easy EnoughWednesday, December 12, 12
  30. 30. A Second Approach: Meditation on the iPhone + Measure Heart Rate VarianceWednesday, December 12, 12
  31. 31. Accountability and Simplicity In OneWednesday, December 12, 12
  32. 32. Meditation on the iPhone • Using New Heart Rate Monitors, We Can Now Get Medical Quality Readings on Our Heart Rate Variance for Around $70 • We Can Use This Data to Get 80% of the Way There With Reading Your Physiology During Meditation • New Heart Rate Only Works with iPhone 4S or iPhone 5, New iPad, and New iPod Touch and Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Monitors • Direct Audio Feedback and Visualization in Portable Form Factor • Turns iPhone into Portable Personal Psychology LabWednesday, December 12, 12
  33. 33. Medical Quality Biofeedback Before vs After App Expensive ($15,000.00 for model above) $70 for Heart Rate Monitor Real medical quality devices only available for $5 for App purchase to doctors ($5-$15k) $300 for iPod Touch If You Don’t Have an iPhone Only raw data available from them, specialization or New iPad required Medical Quality Data1, Easy to Read 1. http://www.sportexperts.org/pdf/PDF%2017.pdfWednesday, December 12, 12
  34. 34. Look for Software In App Store By End of DecemberWednesday, December 12, 12
  35. 35. Attaining Self-Knowledge Past vs Present Trip to India, Contracting Scabies, Lice, Practice Anywhere, In Direct Comfort, No Need Dysentery, Getting Head Shaved By a Stranger, for Physical Threats and Almost Getting Murdered By a Mob Information and Feedback Bad, And Trip Life Information and Feedback Good and Immediate, Threatening Permanent Information TrailWednesday, December 12, 12
  36. 36. “People who are willpower depleted cannot be called on to make good decisions for society.”Wednesday, December 12, 12
  37. 37. “People who meditate... over time their brains become finely tuned willpower machines.” - The Willpower InstinctWednesday, December 12, 12
  38. 38. Let’s Build A Better Future Together.Wednesday, December 12, 12
  39. 39. Questions? Comments? Offers of Help? http://www.kpkaiser.com to Sign Up for Updates kirk@zothcorp.com to Contact MeWednesday, December 12, 12

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