2nd: An App just pretends interacting with you

Ever since I decided to have this 1000 unrelated (aka useless) ideas, I was really looking forward to it. But then when Thursday comes, since I need to put one up on Friday, I get a little nervous, because I don’t know which one I should write.

So I dug my idea folder. I used to have a folder storing all those useless ideas. I found something laughable.

The original idea was:

An app similar to Slack. You create a channel in it. Next the app pretends many users joining your channels. But those are just bots. Now every time you (the owner) post anything, those bots will add reaction to your words, some bots will post a meme to the thread, and some bots may even post a comment to the thread.

However, it is important to note, all those bots will respond positively, such as “LOL”, “that is awesome”, “you are the best”, etc.

This app is called “Feel-Good-Channel” – an app with encouraging bots.

I even made a mock up of it:

Features

  • Any user can create a new channel anonymously.
  • Any user can enter an existing channel to see (but no right to post anything).
  • A channel is automatically deleted after the owner leaves.
  • A channel can only be persisted if the owner is a registered user and chooses to do so.
  • A channel will automatically attract bots to join.
  • A registered owner can configure if the channel allows other real users to post.
  • All bots will make only positive comments, reaction, or memes.
  • The owner will be given a short survey to rate his/her happiness level when exit the channel.

Additional Features

In my original notes, the bots will slowly learn from what the real users post and then improve the “feedback” style. Once the bots become mature, the bots may even leave if the owner does not produce enough information or does not appear to require encouragement. Finally, the bots could learn from multiple channels, and find people with similar problem and connect them, if consented by the users.

Why is it interesting?

I still find this idea interesting because it touches 2 intriguing areas:

  1. Natural Language Processing
  2. Artificial Intelligence

NLP is always a hard problem to tackle. I am guessing with the Cloud-based machine learning, at least now we have more choices and tooling.

AI plays a key role in this app. If you think about it, we are building a robot that can understand natural language as well as human emotion. That is pretty interesting and challenging.

In fact, there are studies and discussion around the world

I also remember when I was working in the HCI lab, I helped research on a project that uses computer game to track and improve children’s emotion.

Many paper focus on facial recognition to determine the emotion. It is relatively easier than relying on only text. However, there are some old studies in psychology talking about how to do so with people’s handwriting:

Pretty interesting read.

Is it really useless?

After I expand this idea a little bit, is it a really useless idea? I am not too sure now.

First, we know in modern age, people are more inclined to text instead of face-to-face communication. Second, we know teenage suicide rate has been increasing.

And teenage feel more comfortable to use app and text.

Assume a user really feels down and start using this app, and assume we have an engine that highly accurately interprets the user’s emotion through wording. Due to the privacy agreement, the app will not know what this person is and where he or she is. However, if the app is able to derive the emotion level and the user’s physiological state, maybe we can do something:

  1. The bots can determine this user needs a listener or not, if yes, respond accordingly.
  2. The bots can determine the right moment to be funny to cheer the user up.
  3. The bots can connect another user (if there is one) with the similar problem and prompt to connect them.
  4. The bots may send an alert to someone to monitor the scripts.

How can such an app really help? I am not sure. But hey, I can only put that much nonsense at a time.

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