Don't know what to say next on your next blind date? Of course there's an app for that
We’ve all seen it: that poor couple sitting in total silence, staring helplessly at their entrees while trying to think of something to say. It’s awful, but it doesn’t have to be, says Lauren McCarthy, an artist and programmer who is currently beta-testing a tech fix for those quiet moments during dates.
Her solution? Invite the Internet along and crowdsource your smalltalk. It’s Cyrano de Bergerac for the Twitter age, and it’s called Social Turkers.
Here’s how it works: McCarthy sets her iPhone on the table and hits record. Instantly, she is broadcasting a video and audio stream of the date in real time. The video stream is then viewed by Amazon’s Mechanical Turk users, a crowdsourcing service that allows you to post small tasks that people anywhere in the world can complete.
And as reported by Anya Kamenetz at Fast Company, during the date the “social Turkers” answer polls, write reviews of what they are seeing unfold and send text messages to McCarthy’s iPhone suggesting what to say or do next.
The results? Not so bad, says McCarthy. The so-called Turkers “picked up on the times when I was nervous, uncomfortable, bored, interested, engaged with stunning accuracy. Sometimes the feedback would tell me to relax or smile, and I would read the responses afterward and they’d mention I seemed really nervous. I’d watch the footage and realize they were right.”
While having strangers weigh in on a first date might sound awful to some, McCarthy finds it oddly comforting: “Meeting new people is the #1 thing that terrifies me, which is one reason I wanted to do this project … Oddly, knowing that the workers are watching me made me feel a sense of reassurance, like I’m not all alone in this situation.”
But there are potential shortcomings, McCarthy found. For one, relying on complete strangers to put words in your mouth can be unnerving for some would-be suitors: “One told me he felt very uneasy because he was never sure when I said something if I had chosen to say it or I was being directed at that moment.”
Want to invite Internet lurkers along for an evening drink and have a panopti-date of your very own? Just wait. McCarthy is currently working on an app version of her social tech experiment, expected to launch soon.
More Related Stories
- The best of Tumblr porn
- From global warming to fluoride: Why do people deny science?
- What does it really feel like to fall out of a building?
- How Dan Savage lost it
- Will U.S. amphibians become endangered species?
- I don't hate millennials anymore!
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- The secrets of cicada survival
- Nobody "needs" to rape
- Catholic Church in market for more exorcists
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Boy Scouts to members: Just don't be a gay adult
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- My text blew up in my face
- Boy Scouts end ban on openly gay boys
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11