NEW YORK, Sep 5: If you can’t keep your eyes and hands off of your cell phone, more push notifications may be coming your way in the near future.
A group of researchers in Spain have come up with a way for cell phones to recognize when users are bored based on an algorithm that tracks their activity, and it has the potential to impact how frequently your phone buzzes to get your attention.
The algorithm, which will be presented as part of a study next week in Japan, looks at the last time a phone was unlocked, how recently a text message or call was received and how long a user has spent scrolling around the device.
“Being bored makes mobile phone users more open to consume suggested content,” the study says.
Researchers from Telefonica, in Spain, and Germany’s University of Stuttgart made 54 volunteers log how frequently they used their phone in combination with individual boredom levels over a span of two weeks. The evidence proved that there is a direct connection between boredom and phone usage — the more bored you are, the more time you spend engaging apps, texting and calling people on your phone.
Using that information, researchers pushed Buzzfeed articles to phones of the volunteers when the algorithm predicted user boredom.
Participants opened the push notifications 20% of the time and in 15% of instances read the article for at least 30 seconds. Contrarily, when researchers sent articles to users the algorithm did not think were bored, articles were only clicked 8% of the time with a reading rate of 30 seconds or more at 4%.
“While we certainly don’t feel that recommending Buzzfeed articles will cure peoples’ boredom, at least not for the majority of them, the study provides evidence that the prediction works,” the authors wrote in a blog post.
The impact of this algorithm can be big for all kinds of app producers, including content creators, as the authors showed. They note that to “better serve users” the information can suggest boredom clearing activities, like when is best to look at to-do lists based on phone engagement levels.
2015 Kashmir Despatch