Mappiness app measures UK iPhone owners' smugness, wait no, 'happiness'

iPhone owners can take part in a UK-wide research project by using a free app, developed by the London School of Economics, that aims to measure Britain's happiness

Good morning iPhoners ! How are you feeling today? Great news: you can now share how happy you are with a new iPhone app, developed as part of a UK-wide research project into, you know, how we're doing.

The Mappiness app beeps at least once a day to ask how you're feeling, and personal info such as who you're with, where you are and what you're doing. It's available for free in the App Store thanks to the London School of Economics.

Data is sent back (anonymously, the researchers hasten to add) with an approximate location using the iPhone's GPS and a noise-level measure.

"We're particularly interested in how people's happiness is affected by their local environment -- air pollution, noise, green spaces, and so on -- which the data from Mappiness will be absolutely great for investigating," say researchers George MacKerron and Susana Mourato.

They also said people who sign up to the survey will be able to see information about their own happiness, as well as feel the "warm glow of helping increase the sum of human knowledge". Mm-hmm.

"By tracking across space as well as time, and by making novel use of a technology that millions of people already carry with them, we hope to find better answers to questions about the impacts of natural beauty, environmental problems -- maybe even aspects of climate -- on individual and national wellbeing," said MacKerron, speaking to the Telegraph.

It's easy to be cynical about this rather new-age sounding 'happiness application'. Nick Farrell of TechEye demonstrates just how easy it is by pointing out that the key problem with gathering data from an iPhone is that it is "in the hands of a subspecies of humanity which are the biggest, most ignorant, arrogant t*****s on the planet".

We prefer to look at the way this app shows how research can be aided by smart phone technology, as it can randomly pick data from test subjects, together with a wealth of location and other data. The researchers want at least 3,000 people to join the project.

 

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