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An app to make your life more diverse and interesting

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Povilas S
Povilas S May 28, 2021
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There are a lot of apps that help you keep up with a certain routine. There might as well be at least one to help you break out of it. Most people live very repetitive lives and trying to challenge yourself and come up with something new to do every day is a job in itself. An app could make this easier by providing suggestions from which you could choose or even plan the whole day for you in a way that you'd cover the necessary tasks, but do something differently, try something new whenever there's a window of opportunity for that.

Such an app would first learn your daily routines and patterns that you repeat and then suggest ways how to change them to improve diversity and minimize repetition.

Important thing to note here is that people often resist stepping out of their usual ways because it takes additional effort and causes discomfort, but that's exactly the price to pay for making your life more diverse and interesting. Life without challenges and change becomes numb. This kills the flow of creativity. So the app would not only find ways for you to diversify your life but at the same time serve an encouraging function presenting habit-breaking tasks as a challenging game.

What would this take: A lot about your daily routines and habits can be told just from your digital activity. This would be the easiest for the app to track and learn from - it would see the usual routes you take, where you eat, what places you visit on working days, weekends, where you go for holidays, what products you buy, people you meet, etc. Then it would suggest alternatives according to your likes, finances, etc.

Additionally, the app could learn by directly interacting with the user - the person would dedicate some time to tell the app about themselves and their day in a digital diary manner (conversation form would be the most user-friendly). The program would then serve as an AI personal assistant aiming to bring more colours into your life through your own actions and choices providing suggestions upon which you could either act or not.

Once the user tried some of the app's suggestions they would then give feedback to the app about whether they liked it, how they feel afterwards, etc. The app would learn and try to improve accordingly. Once again - a slight discomfort is an intrinsic part of the process. There could even be levels of difficulty - how far are you willing to go and how different you want your life to be. This whole setting seems to be good for training AI that is oriented towards personal self-development. With time it could become really good at bringing more joy into people's lives.

Such an app initially might not be attractive to everybody, but it's likely to find its audience amongst creative and adventurous types who are willing to step out of their comfort zone.


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Creative contributions

AI would immensely help in this

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Nitish
Nitish Jun 01, 2021
It's a great idea indeed. Artificial intelligence will surely help to build such apps which can understand our preferences and choices better. However, with our growing dependencies on technologies, especially phone and app culture have their own disadvantages. Overall, there is a need for sustainable development in this aspect; otherwise, we would have been at the mercy of algorithms soon.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni5 months ago
Good point, Nitish ! To avoid being at the mercy of the app, I think the user can upload the different things they do and then the app only chooses the right things for us and suggests them. For example, if I spend a Sunday doing something out-of-the-box, I upload the entire course of my day on the app. I create tags to describe what I did like "painting on a tree using natural colors". The app recognizes the phrase and feeds it to the users who are interested in tags like "painting", "sustainability", "nature", and "creativity". This way the app does not dictate what the user can do but suggests unique ideas uploaded by other users.

To make the process more interesting, different ideas can be combined and then fed to the user. For example, as Spook Louw mentioned, the app will initially tell you to find flowers. Then it will ask you to separate them into different colors. It will then describe the process of extracting color from them using materials available at home. Then it asks you to paint on a canvas using these natural colors you just made. So this combines the ideas of:

1. Finding colorful flowers
2. Making natural colors
3. Painting using natural colors

Each of these individual ideas is already uploaded by different users. The app simply combines them and feeds them to the right users. Mixing different ideas will provide another level of uniqueness to the app.
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Povilas S
Povilas S5 months ago
Good addition, Shubhankar Kulkarni. That would certainly improve the app and make it more lively. However, I think that many things could also be managed by the app itself. For example, it could scan the options of where you could dine depending on what you like to eat, how much can you spend on eating out, the proximity to your home/work, ratings of the restaurants, etc. It would keep suggesting new places you haven't discovered yet. Of course the opinions from other users could also help in this, but AI can simply make a quick personalized algorithm based on few parameters.

The same goes for many things, even people that you communicate with, - the app could, for example, challenge you to write to an old acquaintance you've lost touch with or to write to someone you share the same interests and friends on social media, etc. I know that privacy and data manipulation is a big issue here, but it's the same issue with almost any app, so that's a separate problem to tackle. The more data AI can gather about you, the better it can serve you. Whether that data is leaked to third sources and abused for their gain is what should be watched over.

Nitish The user wouldn't be at the mercy of the algorithm, because they would always be able to choose whether to act on app's recommendations or not. If the recommendations would serve the user they would act on them more, if not, they would think for themselves more. I don't see a problem in this as long as user has a choice.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni5 months ago
Povilas S I very much agree. I like the idea of the AI excavating an old acquaintance for me. I would definitely have that on my agenda.

Knowing "how much can you spend on eating out" may concern some of the users. The concern stems from the fact that the AI has access to such information. People don't usually post the prices of the food they had on social media. They post photos of the food, names of the dishes, and the place where they had it. Depending upon that, the AI may trace back the food items and check their prices on the menu of the place the user had it and then make a guess about how much the user spent. But that is a complex extrapolation since the eating habits of the same person vary a lot - they may eat alone sometimes, sometimes with one another person, sometimes with a group of friends, they may eat but not pay (which will further confuse the AI), they may only have a salad for dinner on one day and order a huge meal on the next. Taking into account all these makes the algorithm complex and suggesting based on that is difficult.

A better way is to look at how much the user paid at a particular place on a particular day. It still does not solve all the issues but it can surely make a better suggestion to the user. This idea may scare most app users.

Therefore, what I suggest is the user should be able to control the amount of access the AI has to the user's life. If the user denies access to some parts, the app can give a message to the user saying that their experience will not be optimum since some parts of their life are blocked for the app.
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Challenges

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw May 28, 2021
I like the idea! We often don't realize when we've fallen into mundane routines.

Another feature I think I'd enjoy seeing would be random challenges generated by the app. Imagine getting an unexpected notification telling you to "go find a flower" or "speak to someone you don't know" or even things like "make a list of 5 people you would like to meet".

Little deviations like those can do wonders to keep one mindful.

Obviously, there are certain times when we might be busy, but then you could simply ignore the challenge, the end goal would then be to complete more and more challenges as you learn to change your lifestyle to allow yourself to take moments like those.

Alternatively, if it seems like it could be an irritating distraction, perhaps the app can have a timer for these challenges, as to not disturb you during certain periods of the day, or it could simply monitor your phone activity to see when you are on social media, if you have time to scroll through Facebook, you have time to complete a challenge.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw13 days ago
I would imagine it to use a similar format to the TV show Taskmaster, but instead of having one person judge your efforts, it would be up to the rest of the community.
The Taskmaster app already kind of does it, but their focus is obviously on promoting their show, rather than the people doing the tasks. If were to be approached differently I think people would enjoy showcasing their unique and creative approaches to certain tasks while also enjoying being able to judge others.
This could be an entertaining way to keep your life interesting.
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Povilas S
Povilas S5 months ago
Yes, I agree, - similar suggestions should be an intrinsic part of the app's functioning - there has to be something random and unpredictable, if the suggestions were predictable, then it would start feeling like a routine sooner or later. That's kind of the whole point of the idea. The app has to be ahead of you, like a guide, to challenge you. In fact, challenge and routine are almost antonyms. Trying something new almost always has a certain degree of challenge to it.
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Gamifying Life Routines (session link)

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salemandreus
salemandreus Jul 21, 2021
Linking this as a related or adjacent topic.
Your idea inspired me to make a whole session on ways to gamify life routines, because I was getting way too many ideas and offshoots to fit it in a creative contribution. I tend to try to apply gamification to my life in general, often through some kind of challenge, as several people have mentioned in various forms, but I find that apps often form a particularly large assistive aid in this for me, such as some existing app examples I mentioned here and an idea @Spook Louw proposed here in on that session. I then forgot to link back to it here in the first place once I'd created it,🤦 hence the belated linking post.
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