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The 3 Laws Governing Human-Machine Interaction

We have discovered three basic laws that govern people’s behavior with respect to interacting with technology.

The 3 laws:

  1. People will say things online they would never say in-person.

  2. People will tell a machine things they would never tell another person.

  3. People will type things they would never say out-loud.

When combined together, these 3 laws create a cocktail that’s akin to a truth serum — and lead to people speaking in a magically unrestrained manner.

Unconstrained, internet users will often go off on wild tangents, detailed diatribes, and sometimes engage in rather unpleasant discourse online. That is, until we add a secret ingredient: attribution. Forcing a user to attach their name to their words.

Of note, social media posts don’t really count as attribution because you generally don’t have a real world connection to the person, or usually even know them.

We’ve found that the simple act of adding accountability into the equation, by requiring people to attach their name to their input while interacting with technology through a typing interface, results in detailed, critical, actionable information without any of the complaining that usually occurs in suggestion boxes or anonymous surveys.

Technology interaction + typing + attribution = openness to provide critical information

Once you apply this simple formula, you need to get people into the right frame of mind to share the type of information you need instead of their plans for the weekend (This has happened to us!).


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