Foursquare Wants to Make “Her” a Reality

Dennis Crowley (Co-Founder) and Jeff Glueck (CEO) of Foursquare interviewed by Recode – click for original article:

“Imagine a friend is walking alongside you,” Crowley said. “Can we make a personality like that, that talks to you in that sense? It’s not 30 years out. We’re going to be playing with this stuff a year from now.”

I don’t think we’re 30 years off either. But if Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa is what we are basing the “current” state of consumer AI, I don’t think “Her” is happening next year either…

“I want to make that Scarlett Johansson that whispers in your ear, but it’s all about local places and local discovery,” he added. “I want to replicate the experience of walking through the city with a friend that knows the city inside and out, and I want to make that for millions of people.”

(I had to stop reading at this point to reflect on what I’m sure is the inevitable release of a Kim Kardashian’s “AI” app. Everything about that concept is hilarious to me.)

“In your glasses or EarPods or watch, some kind of filtering will have to happen,” Glueck said. “All these apps are pushing notifications at you. Certain devices are more personal, and you’ll have to have a high standard of whether you’ll want to be interrupted.”

This is a problem TODAY and I think this will be an interesting old new battleground for both Apple & Google moving forward with AI.

In the times of Nokia & Erickson, every single notification was consumed with attentiveness. Each was meaningful in value because there were basically only 3 types of them: Incoming phone call, incoming text message or alarm.

The notification today, to the average user, has been devalued significantly. It seems like just about every app and service “needs” our attention multiple times a day – and can get it with equal priority. Compounding the problem, some users don’t use the granular notification settings that iOS and Android provide to limit the onslaught or filter valuable alerts. On the other extreme, other users will create a digital echo chamber, instinctively turning off all but the most basic of notifications.

Today, most users missed out on the valuable contextual data their phone is bursting with because they either can’t see it or can’t hear it.

The curent state of things makes it difficult for developers to establish a meaningful conversation with a user who isn’t actively listening. As AI becomes a reality and interactions between humans and devices becomes more fluid and meaningful, the way a device interrupts to notify a user surely must be rethought and evolved not just at the notification level, but at the OS level.

I don’t know about you, but eventually, I’d stop listening to even “that Scarlett Johansson” if she kept pestering me about Starbucks having 10% off Lattes for Foursquare Mayors.