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Mappiness tracks our happiness via a smartphone


It’s easy to forget that despite all the hassles we seem to face in the Western world, life is generally very good for us. We don’t suffer from famine, pestilence or war, and there’s probably a Mickey D’s within walking distance. So why do we complain so much?

To fight back, an enterprising British team has decided to redress the balance by introducing a new iPhone app which lets us map how happy we are at any moment. The app prods you once a day (or more) to ask how you’re feeling, and where you are and what you’re doing. You can also take a photo to give physical proof. The data is anonymously added to the central store and over time the app will build a picture of our collective happiness quota.


As you might expect the whole thing is part of a research project being conducted by the London School of Economics, so hopefully some really useful stuff will come out of it at the end of the day. The researchers are particularly interested in how our happiness is affected by environment, e.g. pollution, noise, green space etc. I do have a small feeling that the sample is likely to be skewed quite a lot by the fact that people who are unhappy at any one moment won’t respond to the prompts, but it may be that the developers have controlled for that.

It’s a nice idea and I would love for it to be replicated around the world and on more handsets (maybe an Android port for a starter?). We all need to remind ourselves about the good things that exist in our lives, eh? Like love, friendship and kindness?

Anyway, I’ll leave you with this funny and relevant video from comedian Louis C.K..


Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.

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