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Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do

Chapter 10: Captology Looking Forward


The previous chapters have taken you through the fundamentals of captology, the study of computers as persuasive technologies. My goal has been to give you the resources for researching, designing, using, or simply understanding persuasive technology products, present and future. In these pages I ve offered frameworks, such as the functional triad and the Web Credibility Grid, for conceptually organizing this dynamic area.

We re just now witnessing the dawn of persuasive technology, in theory and in practice. Because captology is new, not only are some frameworks in this book likely to change or evolve, but many of the examples offered here represent pioneering experiments, not mature products. It s difficult to judge the potential or pitfalls of persuasive technology on the basis of these early examples alone. Much like the early designs for flying machines, the early designs for persuasive technologies are likely to have a high failure rate. As the theory and practice of captology matures, those early examples will be replaced by far more sophisticated applications.

Competency in persuasive technology is likely to grow at a rapid rate in the coming years, due to advances in computing power and the considerable money at stake. [1 ]Research in persuasive technology should progress rapidly as well, because technology will change the way research is conducted.

In the past, studying persuasion was laborious and slow. A single study could take years to complete. Even quick laboratory experiments required at least a few months. And once a study was completed and documented,...


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