Everyday life is a constant battle against our vices that we typically lose, because things that are bad for us are fantastic. Fortunately, technology has taken a cue from the dysfunctional authority figures of your youth by incorporating the age old tactics of bribery and punishment into its usual offering of alerts and reminders. All of this in an effort to drag you, kicking and screaming if it must, down the long road to finally becoming a better person.
#6. A Monitor That Scolds You if You Slouch
Many of us slouch by default, like an emotionally defeated elephant confined to a zoo enclosure smaller than most McDonald's PlayPlaces. That's why Philips has developed the ErgoSensor, a 24-inch LCD monitor with embedded sensors that allow it to watch your every move. (We were going to say "monitor you," but we didn't. You're welcome.) The ErgoSensor will then bitch at you for bad posture, sitting too close to the screen or masturbating in front of it three times in a single afternoon.
"Seriously, don't you chafe?"
#5. An App That Rewards You for Ignoring Your Phone at the Movies
The Cinemark theater chain has created an app, appropriately called CineMode, which keeps track of whether you are messing with your phone during one of their movies, because evidently we are all five years old. If you can find it within yourself to sit still for two fucking hours, they reward you with coupons and discounts, giving you prizes for something that most non-assholes just do on their own. This is like giving people candy every time they don't rape somebody.
"Let's put hunger and narcissism in a steel cage and see who wins."
#4. A Cigarette Lighter That Plays a Death Chant
In India, smokers use electronic lighters, metallic boxes hooked onto the walls of convenience stores, because nobody has bothered to tell them that the rest of the world keeps their lighters in their goddamned pockets. Certain lighters, installed by India's Cancer Patients Aid Association, play the revered Indian death chant when operated. This is sort of like a Bic playing a disquieting funeral dirge every time you flick it on.
#3. Prisons That Reduce Sentences for Reading and Biking
Brazil has decided to give its incarcerated citizens a little more incentive to reform themselves while simultaneously using them to power Seussian machinery by installing stationary bikes in federal prisons that generate power for municipal grids when pedaled. For every 16 hours a prisoner pedals, one day will be cut from his sentence.
And one carb cheat day added to his calendar.
And in another program, prisoners can cut off 48 days from their sentence per year by reading a maximum of 12 classic books and writing essays on them, because if history has taught us anything, it's that no well-read athletic person has ever murdered anyone.
#2. An App That Charges You Money for Skipping the Gym
In a bizarrely aggressive take on motivation, the Gym-Pact app takes $5 from you every time you skip a scheduled workout, which is sort of like eating a doughnut and then getting mugged by Richard Simmons. If you do make your gym appointment, you earn a share of the cash that was collected from Gym-Pact users who stayed at home (two mutually exclusive groups both consisting of zero people).
"I can buy enough $1 McChickens to undo those workouts!"
#1. Free Wi-Fi and Raffle Tickets for Picking Up Your Dog's Poop
Several parks in Mexico City now have Wi-Fi routers offering free Internet for everyone to use, but there's a catch: They only get the free Internet if they place their dog's poop in the special bin. It is called Poo WiFi, as their uncomfortably long commercial makes damn sure you know.
Taiwan, facing a similar problem, began handing out lottery tickets for a prize of up to $2,000 to people who handed in bags of their dog's poop (although with two grand at stake, we doubt the burden of production will be limited to the dog).