Helping, Informing or Coaxing the Consumer?: Exploring Persuasive Technology as applied to households’ energy use
2007 (English)In: Proceedings of the Nordic Consumer Policy Research Conference 2007, 2007Conference paper (Refereed)
Let us assume, that people could be persuaded to reduce their energy use in the home through a“dialogue” with a computer. What information, what means of persuasion could the dialogueconsist of? Which is the technical hardware? Who persuades, and what about personal integrity?In this paper we explore the merging of two computer-based technologies – “smart homes” and“persuasive technology”.There are computer programmes that persuade children to brush their teeth, and others thatsupport regular physical exercise: Persuasive technology combines the persuasive powers of TVadvertising with the computers’ interactive information handling. Smart homes technologyprovides residents with information and control, to keep a good indoor climate and a smallenergy bill. However, the merging of these two concepts has not been explored.Energy use in housing is a considerable part of society’s whole and the potentials for reductionthrough changes in the consumers’ habits are large. Often, dwellings’ indoor climate couldbecome better through simple measures. There might be a conflict between low energy use andgood indoor climate; but on the whole, better control can achieve both. Therefore it is worthwhileto explore how “smart homes” technology could be developed to include computerizedpersuasion.Based on a “Master’s Class” at TU Eindhoven and a literature review, we discuss:• How can households be persuaded to reduce their energy use through interaction with acomputer?• Which are the technical prerequisites?• How much could be saved?• What forms could the persuasive dialogue take?• What differences in control and persuasion follow from the form of tenure?• Which are the ethical restrictions?We don’t assume that this kind of persuasion is by necessity a good thing. Instead, we explore theissue to enable discussion on its merits and shortcomings – in terms of environmental impacts,comfort, health, technology and consumer ethics.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-73970OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-73970DiVA: diva2:489108
Nordic Consumer Policy Research Conference 2007, Helsinki, Finland, October 3–5 2007
QC 201205232012-02-022012-02-022012-05-23Bibliographically approved