Free Yourself From Social Media With Classical Conditioning


While [Robert] and [Dan] should be working on their dissertation, they found they actually spend a whole lot of time whiling away their days on Facebook and other social media sites. Taking inspiration from a Skinner box, they rigged up their computer to shock them every time they surfed on over to Facebook.

Their build uses the UI inspector in OS X and a Python script to activate an Arduino connected to one of those trick ‘shocking chewing gum’ pranks. The contacts for this shocker are attached to a keyboard wrist rest, providing a wonderful tingling sensation whenever the guys surf on over to Facebook.

Because shocks just aren’t extreme enough, [Robert] and [Dan] took their build one step further by invoking the wrath of Mechanical Turk users. They wrote a Python script to look at their UI inspector and submit a job to Mechanical Turk whenever they logged on to Facebook. The result is a random person being paid $1.40 to yell at [Robert] or [Dan] over the phone for wasting time on Facebook.

Video below, and be sure to like this post on Facebook.


19 thoughts on “Free Yourself From Social Media With Classical Conditioning

  1. 1. Start a project blog!
    2. Go to Facebook, announce to your friends that they can find you at the blog or via email.
    3. Delete Facebook account.
    4. Use project blog instead of Facebook, where you’re compelled to be productive before telling the world what you’re up to. (And someone might actually care).
    5. Submit aforementioned projects to Hackaday. (Because at the very least, we care <3.)

  2. Definitely laughed at this one, especially the mechanical turk bit. The pragmatist in me must, however, point out that the easier and more effective solution would be to just delete the facebook account. Much easier to keep yourself from wasting the time to remake an account than simply logging on.

      1. Seeing people I liked and respected as a bunch of ignorant, superstitious, gullible, copy-pasting racists who can’t spell was starting to send me nuts. I’m happier keeping real life and the Internet separate, like it has since I first got online.

  3. With such poor self control, these guys will have a major uphill battle finishing their PhD programs.

    If you can’t manage the simplest things in your life (which social media definitely falls under that category) you have some real issues.

    Instead of paying Mechanical Turk, best spend your pennies on a real shrink.

    1. It isn’t Russia, Europe, or Asia. You can social network through college in America. It’s partially the reason engineering and R&D uses foreign talent in America and has for a long time.

      Most of what you see in US military and NASA is the work of Russians and Germans..

    2. I’m completely certain they’re not atypical in this regard. In fact, I would venture to say the average college student is probably quite a bit worse with social media than these guys. That’s not to imply it’s a strictly college-age problem either, for example, my 48 year old mother spends about 3 hours on facebook everyday.

  4. I could be the only person commenting here who actually doesn’t have a Facebook account…yes we do exist…so maybe I would have to rig it up to deal with some of my other addictions :)

    1. I don’t have a Facebook either. We should join forces and rig these in a backpack with voice recognition. To take care of the people that try to convince us that we should create a Facebook account. Would be a lot better than the 5 to 10 minute long argument followed by awkward silence.

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