How Do Apps Build Rapport With You?

“Tell me about your relationship with your mother.”

Had a chance to watch the movie Her again recently. It’s a quirky movie, and frankly a bit slow in spots, but I find the portrait of future technology inspiring. So inspiring, actually that I left my job to start a company trying to apply some its principals.

I love the scene from Her when Theodore installs the new “OS” that he will eventually fall in love with:


During the course of setting up the new OS, it needs to know:

  1. Are you social, or antisocial?
  2. Would you like your OS to have a male or female voice?
  3. How would you describe your relationship with your mother?

Of course the OS then goes on to cut him off as Theodore gives somewhat rambling answers to these questions.

It’s an amusing clip, but it also brings to mind an interesting question: when is the last time a software application tried to build rapport with you? Surely with all of these apps that have access to your Facebook data, some of them would start randomly chatting me up about the Knicks or the new St Vincent album.

One day, they surely will.