Conference paper Open Access

Sensory Social Networks to Motivate Sustainable Behaviour

Van Leewen, Josh; Oakley, Ian; Nunes, Nuno; Nisi, Valentina; Kost

This position paper discusses the role of advanced sensor systems, integrated into smart homes and transportation networks and measuring use and consumption, in supporting a transition at the level of individuals, small groups and entire communities, to more sustainable ways of living. It focuses on how such technologies can be leveraged as a motivational tool. In particular it highlights the potential of novel motivational techniques that operate through the recently popular paradigm of on-line social networking services. Examples of such techniques include relatively crude group motivators such as competition, to more subtle effects such as empowerment, in which motivation to act stems simply from increased capacity and ability. A further key element of this approach is to harness the collective power of communities. This refers not only to the increased reliability of aggregate sensor data (providing clearer messages as to the environmental costs of certain consumption behaviours), but also to the power of a community to discuss, debate and eventually identify and resolve its own sustainability problems. In short, this paper represents a novel research approach. It concludes with a discussion of the likely outcomes of this effort.

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