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AI meets the caveperson

How Behavioural Design and AI can change habits

While we've made astounding advancements in AI technology like ChatGPT, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion, our brains are still hardwired like our early ancestors. This was effectively demonstrated by a recent initiative in Poland by ING, a banking institution. The campaign aimed to encourage future retirement savings using innovative AI visualisations. But the true genius was in how it tapped into our primal instincts. It's an excellent example of Behavioural Design, a technique that employs lessons from behavioural economics to shape actions in a desired way.

Take a look at what they did here:


The reason for its success:

The human brain hasn't dramatically evolved since the launch of revolutionary tech gadgets like the iPhone in 2007, or even the release of ChatGPT in November 2022. Our brains have been shaping up for hundreds of thousands of years, with much of that time needing basic survival instincts. As a result, we've developed numerous subconscious biases for swift decision-making, which remain deeply ingrained in us. While our brains are adaptable, allowing us to form new habits around modern devices like smartphones, our fundamental decision-making methods align closely with our hunter-gatherer forebears.

Nobel laureate in Economics, Daniel Kahneman, identified these as our quick, intuitive thought process (System 1) and our slower, logical thought process (System 2). His research suggests that the majority, 95%, of our decisions are largely influenced by System 1.

Behavioural Design takes into account how people decide, and uses this understanding to influence actions. With ING's campaign, they leveraged visualisations to make people's long-term goals seem immediate, inspiring them to save more. We, as descendants of early humans, have a natural tendency to prioritise immediate, tangible rewards over distant gains. The AI ING used provides visual rewards that feel immediate and real.

If you're curious to learn more about Behavioural Design or how cutting-edge technologies can drive meaningful changes in behaviour, feel free to contact me.

Martin Talks