What’s For Dinner? Ask Your Phone.
Our days are filled with decisions.
From the trivial to the life-altering, it’s been estimated that most of us make about 70 conscious decisions to get through the day, and dozens more that are too mundane and rote to penetrate our consciousness.
Some really smart people think it’s best to ration out their mental energy.
Albert Einstein was known for wearing the same clothes everyday, surmising that his brainpower could be put to better use than matching his socks to his shoes. Steve Jobs streamlined with his signature blue jeans and black turtleneck. It’s the same thinking behind Mark Zuckerberg’s uniform of t-shirts, flip flops and hoodies, and Barack Obama says he pares his wardrobe down to only blue or grey suits to avoid making any more decisions than he already has to, even citing research that shows that too many choices can lead to decision fatigue and degrade the ability to make future decisions.
There’s a new wave of decision-making applications that let us outsource the choosing.
You’re probably not launching a tech revolution or laying the groundwork for nuclear fission, but you still might want to take a few decisions off your plate. For the insecure, indecisive, or just plain over-whelmed, there are apps that can tell you what college to attend or stocks to buy or they’ll choose the next novel you’ll read. There’s a decision-maker for drafting a fantasy football team and another that tells you what sex position to use. But for many of us, at the end of a long workday all we want is someone to tell us what to do for dinner.
Most of the apps started out as shopping aids—snap a few selfies from the dressing room and let your online friends pick your new jeans—but creative users quickly turned them into menu planners. There are randomizers like coin tosses or a roll of the digital dice; apps that rely on complex algorithms based on your preferences and history; and crowd-sourcers that collect the opinions of friends or recommendations of strangers from outside of your social circle. Upload a menu, list the contents of your refrigerator, take some photos, or toss out polling questions, and let them decide for you.
SeeSaw’s dinner decisions come from your own panel of personal advisors while Thumb draws on the wisdom of the masses but lets you choose the collective demographic that’s polled for a given decision. Ding! takes the agony and office politics out of group takeout orders, and when all else fails, shake your iPhone and theUrbanSpoon decision-maker spins a roulette wheel to pick a restaurant.
What’s for dinner? It’s a decision that can stymie the best of us.
AppCrawlr has compiled a list of the top 200 decision-making applications, sortable by topic and decision-making methodology.
Gigabiting: where food meets culture and technology.