Smart phone drives home message



Yesterday I upgraded my iPhone to version 11.0.3, and today it is suggesting I might be a liar. I kinda like this. 📱

The new version gives me the ability to delay all notifications to the phone while driving, say, to Jasper, say, today. Before driving off this morning, I wondered for a second if I should enable the feature. My instinct when given an option by a phone (tell us where you are? tell us where you're going? and so on) is to say no. Privacy and all. But, invariably, I then remember Dave Mowat's take in this regard on Molly Bloom's final words by saying yes yes yes yes when his phone ask permission of him. I've started saying yes all the time, Dave says, to see what I can learn.

What I learned from this simple little feature is an effective little way to keep me from using my phone while driving. Effective in a different way than the law tries to be effective (threatening punishment), and effective in a different way than advertising tries to be effective (drawing pictures of unintended consequences).

This is about low-grade, body-authenticating shaming.

Because if I were to hit the I'm Not Driving button while going, say, 110 km/h, what I would really be doing is good old fashioned lying. It's that problematic little first person singular I in the interface button. It changes the landscape, bringing the lunacy of driving while using a smartphone inside me in a way that law promulgators and jingle writers can only dream of.

I am confronting an intriguing question: is it easier to ignore the laws and the TV ads than touching the screen while doing, say, 110 km/h and voting myself into the office of liar?

I wonder what other public goods shame could be used for?

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