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[flagged] If this woman stays off her smartphone for an entire year, she'll win $100k (abc15.com)
44 points by MilnerRoute 8 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 44 comments

This has got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. They have no way of knowing if she did it. They gave her her a flip phone and at the end of a year they're going to have her take a polygraph test. That's the setup. Wow.

They didn't even give her the flip phone, she bought that herself.

That being said I think you should reframe your thinking on this- they got over 100,000 applicants and a ton of press. My guess is they were always planning on paying out the $100,000 and the polygraph test is just another way they can throw some marketing around. The Vitaminwater brand has over a billion dollars in revenue for CocaCola each year- rising up from $350 million a year before coke's marketing team got ahold of them. Their marketing department knows what they're doing, and this $100k is a drop in the bucket for the press it's gotten.

Polygraphs work if you believe they work.


Would you risk $100k to touch a smartphone at any point during a year?

I think that’s really close to the price point that would keep me away from a smartphone.

I'd just buy some JNCO jeans and get a netbook

HAHA, that's true, a netbook could function as an effective replacement for a smartphone.

This doesn't sound bad at all if you can use a laptop, which the rules say she can. I strive for functionality parity between my phone and laptop, so anything I need to do or data I can access is reachable from both.

The hardest part is the actual phone bits: calls and texts. I get that through my service (Google Fi), but that's not a common feature.

The rest of the features are nice, but not necessary, and I could absolutely just use my laptop instead, provided I had access to WiFi consistently.

Wanted to say this as well.

I barely if ever use my phone. Everything is on laptop.

I also came here to say that. This is basically free money. Although, you might have a hard time navigating around a city without modern navigation tools like Uber, Lyft and Google Maps.

> a Kyocera flip phone that she can only use to call and text

She should get a Twilio account. ;-)

I say this half seriously, because I know it may not be in the spirit of the challenge, but it would be enriching to cobble together some simple scripts to receive an SMS and proxy things like Google queries, maybe maps directions, Calendar lookups, maybe a Tweet-sender, HN headline fetcher, etc. It would be constrained but educational and fun. (I say "fun" because HN.) Bonus marks: IVR and/or voice rec version.

Google actually did run a service on 600613 (I think) for some time that would text directions and info from certain queries. I was disappointed when I found out it was down.

Wow, that just reminded me of ChaCha.

When I finally got an unlimited text plan(~2009), I asked soo many questions. I was still on dial-up at the time, so it was actually faster than trying to look something up on Yahoo. And as a bonus, I could still use it while my mom was on the phone!


I used it quite a bit and was really sad when it was shut down.

Not difficult given the incentives. But the lie detecting sounds a bit worrying.

Incentives say she will pass the lie detecting test. It would be a PR disaster if she said she didn't use it and the sponsor wouldn't want to pay.

It just gets more promotion than paying out $100K directly.

It blows my mind that people still use the "lie detector" (polygraph) for anything.

They are used for intimidation primarily. If you are being interrogated by a police officer and gullible enough to believe in polygraphs then you are more likely to tell the truth.

However, I bet the effect wears off after the first interrogation because you lose that last ounce of doubt "what if it works".

This parallels the Twilight Zone Episode "The Silence"[0] which itself has roots in Chekhov's "The Bet"

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silence_(The_Twilight_Zone...

It's ironic that a mainstream brand which presumably advertises a lot is sponsoring this challenge considering that smartphone addiction is caused by advertising (as it incentivises the social platforms to maximise engagement so they see more ads thus make them money).

My dad doesn't own a smartphone. He has a flip phone that he takes out when he goes on trips but where he lives (rural Maine) there is no cell reception so he doesn't see a point in having anything fancier (also, having watched him attempt to operate a smartphone, it's probably for the best). Does someone want to pay him $100k for that?

This is trivial. Get a gps for the car. She has a flip phone. And she can still use laptops and desktops. She could even get a laptop with lte if she really wants. I'd do this for a tenth or even a hundredth of the price although the lie detector test seems suspect.

In other news man ties arm behind back for an entire year for $100K...

Not only is a lie detector test far from definitive but why? Why would you knowingly put yourself in danger this way? It's akin to driving without seatbelts or airbags.

Are you serious about not having a smartphone being on par with not wearing your seatbelt? If anything, not having a smartphone is safer than having one because you’re not going to be staring at it while driving, crossing the street, juggling knives, etc.

What's the life-threatening danger of not having a smartphone with you?

Paul Miller did a similar thing (no direct internet access for a year) for The Verge a few years back.

I did an 11-month detox on a dumb phone and loved it. It's like fasting, just mind over matter.

And where’s your damn hundred thousand? There’s no justice!

How will she use her 2FA ;)

Apple Watch with cellular, for hailing Ubers and messaging?

iPad mini with cell service?

The rules say no tablets. Could do iPod touch with cellular hotspot though.

This sounds like one of those "you could live in this mansion free forever, but you can't ever listen to Beyonce again. Wyd?" Instagram posts.

The answer is always yes, sign me up.

I have been doing that for the last 40 years, give me $4M! But if fixing other people's phone counts, I'm out of luck.

Much of modern life has been altered by and adapted to the expectation that the average person carries in their pocket a relatively powerful computer and camera. For someone who has grown up and adapted to that world, giving up the smartphone will be a lot harder than for someone who hasn’t relied on one yet.

Smartphones haven’t existed for 40 years!

I’m sure that made the early years a lot easier.

If job postings and HR departments can require 10 years of experience using a framework that's only 2 years old, surely there is some wiggle room.

Actually, she'll win more like $200k, $100k for the contest and another $100k producing value for others because of all the additional free time she'll have thanks to the absence of useless distractions.

Why do people need to be rewarded money to do something like this? Why can't the reward be a better social life or better mental health? As the person says in the article, "Getting away from the smartphone has been freeing, and it has opened my eyes and made me more aware of some of my other bad health habits." That's a pretty good reward for most. I'd take that $100k and use it to spread awareness about social media and its health effects. All a project like this does is reinforce the idea that people should only do things for monetary gains, including bettering their body and mind.

> I'd take that $100k and use it to spread awareness about social media and its health effects.

I would bet $100,000 that you would spend $0K of the $100K to spread awareness about social media and its health effects.

> Why do people need to be rewarded money to do something like this?

Who says they need to? Plenty of people willingly give up smartphones without direct monetary reward.

If you want people to do it as a marketing stunt for your flavored-water company and want press about it, throwing money around helps with that.

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