Do we make unhealthy food choices because we don’t know any better? Or because we’re too lazy to do the thing we know we’re supposed to do? Or too gluttonous? These questions kept entering my head after reading up on the debate surrounding the new food pyramid plate, which reminds us we are to fill half our plate with produce at every meal. Of course I know that, but I conveniently forget (neglect) it on a daily basis.
So let’s assume people make unhealthy choices because they don’t know that certain foods are worse for them than others. A very funny way to address that problem (in my opinion) appeared in a recent article on the future of supermarkets in The Atlantic. In the piece, an associate professor of communication design at Parsons suggests that you could build a “fictional future self, an avatar” of yourself, that would be affected by the foods you bought at the supermarket.
“If we could travel in time and see our future selves, we might be able to see how choices we make now [affect] our health and finances in the future,” she says.
Although the article doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of this idea, the implication is that somehow your shopping cart or credit card or something would calculate what you bought and feed it to your avatar back in the Cyberspace Lands. If you bought a bunch of really expensive artisanal potato chips, for example, your avatar would be both fat and broke-ass.
For some reason, I just don’t think this is going to work.