By: Cole Buergi, VP of Business Development, Leonard & Finco Public Relations
Download a new app called, Carrot - available for iPad and iPhone users, and that’s what you might get as a message from the app. Carrot puts a news twist on creating an electronic to do list. The twist is it insults you, sometimes rather harshly, when you don’t get things completed in a timely manner.
The USA Today reports:
Like other apps of this kind, or the integrated Reminders tool for iOS users, you can create a list of things to do -- such as "Buy air pump for bicycle" or "Pay phone bill by Friday" – but Carrot will insult you for failing to perform your tasks. For example, if you don't open the app for a while, Carrot might display this message to you upon your return: "Public Shaming 001: Would you like to confess your laziness to all your social media friends?" You can tap "No Way" or "Um, I Guess?" Choosing the latter will open up Twitter or Facebook (your choice) and suggest you publish this: "Guys! My to-do list is making me tell you all I'm nothing but a no-good lazy human!"
Harsh? Yes. Funny? You bet.
Tap on Carrot's "ocular sensor" -- think HAL's eye from 2001: A Space Odyssey -- and you might see "You're beginning to annoy me" or "I'll make you regret that. I promise" or "How would you like it if I tapped on your eyeball"? Tap a few more times and Carrot might have a "mood swing" and change from a white background to a black one. Carrot might forgive you over time, however, and return back to normal; when I launched the app a few minutes later, Carrot wrote "My hatred for you already burns with the passion of 10,000 suns. I literally cannot hate you any more. So I guess we'll call it a draw."
And, if that wasn’t harsh enough, the app also allows you to choose if you want to share the insult with your friends on your social media sites.
The app does offer kudos and compliments when tasks are completed on time.
It seems quite unsettling to me that anyone would want to have their electronics, designed to make their lives easier, insult you when you’ve decided to do something at another time instead of when you originally planned on completing it. Imagine if your parent or employer treated you this way. If they called you stupid, incompetent or said they hated you with a burning desire greater than the sun. I don’t think most people would appreciate it. So why then would you willingly invite a thoughtless, unfeeling computer app to do it?
A greater concern I have is that over the past few years, bullying has become a significant concern among many Americans, particular in our school systems. Some bullying has tragically resulted in the recipient of the bullying becoming severely depressed and, sometimes, taking their own lives to escape the pain bullying inflicts. In a few cases, the person bullied harbored their ill feelings until the rage boiled over and they took out their anger on others.
Will this type of behavior be compounded because of an app? Only time will tell.
At a minimum, my concern is will this new form of negativism give users the sense that it’s ok to say mean and hurtful things? Are we going to take three step backwards in the fight against bullying after we’ve worked so hard to take a half step forward in preventing this type of behavior?
What are your thoughts on this? Would you let others speak to you this way? Then why let a computer program do it?