Voice in the Mirror
Voice in the Mirror is a new web application that helps anyone to change themselves, by allowing you to incentivize your future self. It is hard to quit smoking, lose weight, or start exercising. Behavioral economics helps us understand why: while our present self always has good intentions about what our future self should do (I will start my diet next week) when our future self becomes our present self, we rarely follow through.
Other sites have pioneered the notion that we can create "commitment contracts" with our future selves. While other sites have pioneered the way, Voice in the Mirror opens a full channel of communication between your current self and your future self. While there are several aspects of Voice in the Mirror that represent compelling technology improvements, the most significant is the simple ability to record voice messages for your future self. For any future event, you can have yourself leave one message in the case of failure, and another if you succeed. You can have your mother or spouse record these two messages. Of course, you can also forfeit or gain money, or avoid/endure embarrassment or praise depending on how well your future self respects your present self's wish.
Using incentives, and creating a communication channel between our present and future selves, this web application will help us to change ourselves.
This web application will be for anyone who wants to change something about themselves. Which covers just about everyone. But there seem to several areas where people really want to be different. Some of them are obvious and some are surprising. For instance, people often want to:
* Lose weight
* Stop Smoking
* Pray consistently
* Improve Study Habits
* Stop using Porn
* Get out of debt
* Stop careless spending/shopping
In fact, it is really difficult to change anything about yourself when there is a natural dis-incentive for that behavior. Exercise hurts, dieting makes you hungry, smoking feels wonderful, studying or praying hard are boring, etc etc.
This site is for anyone and for everyone. Remember there is no such thing as self-discipline there is only motivation. If you want to change your life, you must change your motivation.
To work, a user must be honest with themselves and the application. (if you lie in to the mirror the metaphor becomes useless and the mirror "breaks"). So this application is for people who are capable of being honest with themselves, but still have trouble changing.
The idea is simple. You are communicating and incentivizing yourself. You are, essentially, programming yourself. You are using, among other things, your own voice to do this. Literally the system will help you to record your own voice and then play it back to you at the right time.
Honestly, I cannot even think of a way to communicate this concept without really cheesy mirror graphics, so I will leave that up to you. But here are a couple of basic principles that it might be nice to pull from.
The system will be very open. Eventually it will be released as Open Source software. Each user will have the option to allow researchers to study their data, and this will be encouraged. Open code, open data where appropriate.
The site is supposed to be a tool for people to change. But people very often want to change things about themselves that they do not like. Part of the mirror concept is that you have to face what you do not like about yourself. You have to face your unmentionables. That is why we will obviously support those who want to have their incentive programs private.
Also, the system will often only be effective if a person can be honest with themselves. If you are willing to lie to yourself, it breaks the system.
Openness, Honesty, Change and of course, Privacy if you need it.
These are the core concepts of Voice in the Mirror, and I want a logo that shows it.