The Jerk-O-Meter Seems To Be Pointing In The Wrong Direction

from the is-that-the-best-use? dept

Honestly, if you told someone you were creating a “jerk-o-meter” for people using mobile phones, it seems likely that most people would assume the purpose was to let people yakking loudly in public or letting their phones interrupt that they were being a jerk. Unfortunately, that’s not what the “real” jerk-o-meter is being designed to do. Instead, it’s a project at MIT to let people know when they’re not paying enough attention to whoever they’re talking to. While the idea is focused on giving yourself feedback to make sure you’re not a jerk, the creators admit it can also be used to determine if the person you’re talking to isn’t paying attention. Honestly, this sounds similar to the idea that some web conferencing systems have had to alert conference organizers if users aren’t paying attention — and it’s likely to have the same result. There are plenty of legitimate reasons why someone might have divided attention — and calling them on it without knowing what’s really going on seems sort of petty. It seems likely that the only thing people will be paying attention to is what an obnoxious jerk you are for monitoring them to see if they’re a jerk. In other words, it seems like using the “jerk-o-meter” is a jerkier thing to do than being called a jerk by the jerk-o-meter.

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