There’s an App for that!

Most people today have some sort of Smartphone that comes with an app store filled with thousands of apps for anything you can think of. There are fitness and diet trackers, games, news articles, recipe books, photo collage makers, music mixers, and so many other types of apps available today. Many of us turn to these apps on a daily basis to help make decisions. Need a good restaurant suggestion, open Urban spoon. What if you can’t figure out the voice of an animated character in the latest Pixar movie? IMDB app can tell you in seconds. Or maybe you just want to waste some time while waiting at the doctor’s office. The Pinterest app can keep you busy for hours. Its like second nature to me, if I have a question about anything, chances are there is an app on my phone that will give me the answer. However, many of these apps have built in algorithms that come up with recommendations based on use. Netflix recommends movies, Pandora comes up with playlists based on songs the user has liked and disliked, and Amazon shows products similar to the ones customers purchase. Many may not realize it, or do realize it and just not care, that these apps that use algorithms are making decisions for you.

According to Article 6, The Decision Lens, some researchers predict that in the future, “Smartphone’s will soon be able to act like personal assistants, if not old-fashioned butlers. ‘Butlers knew of all the quirks, tastes and vices of their employers. Their task was to promote, suggest or arrange the most appropriate attire, meal, or social function.” This is essentially what our smart phones are doing. They are using information from our social media sites, recent searches, emails, and calendars to recommend things.

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