Every day, we struggle with the seduction of technology: should we watch just one more YouTube video late into the night or go to sleep? Browse a friend’s Facebook profile for 15 minutes or call him? Order an Uber ride or walk home? Technology companies exploit our cognitive biases to maximize profit, overlooking what really matters to consumers in the long-run: well-being.
Well-being is about more than meeting our current needs; it is about meeting our long-term goals—health, happiness, meaning. It is hard to plan for these abstract goals when we are subject to any number of subconscious influences that lead us in the wrong direction. Technology companies are already embedded in our everyday lives, helping to form habits which in turn help us achieve—or fail to achieve—long-term goals.
This leaves ample opportunity for product developers to think differently: how can we make small tweaks to existing platforms to help cultivate consumer well-being?
Imagine a future shaped by wellness-aware technologies: Snapchat makes eating fruits and vegetables fun; Uber helps us reach our fitness goals; WhatsApp makes us more active; Pinterest cultivates happiness through experience; Instagram encourages a diverse diet. The role technology plays in our lives could become more meaningful, meeting not just our present but our future needs.