There’s no shortage of web 2.0 services these days (and certainly no shortage of useless ones) but Hunch looks like a winner.
Decision-making is part of our daily lives, and with our increasingly faster lifestyles, there’s not enough time to carefully take into consideration every aspect of the problem.
You ask how can a website help you with making decisions? At first, I wasn’t at all convinced that it would manage to provide any sort of meaningful advice, but after reading up on the technology behind, I was impressed.
Created by very smart geeks from MIT, namely Matt Gattis, Weiyu Zhou, Peter Coles, Will Gaybrick and Tom Pinckney, Hunch uses the concept of “˜machine learning’, a process that analyses patterns in order to predict – in our case, decisions. The service leverages the so-called ‘wisdom of the crowds’ by aggregating answers and information from all the users that complete the various questionnaires available.
Based on the answers you provide, which can range from your computer type to your vacation destination, it matches your profile with other people that gave similar answers. What did these people that took similar decisions to you decide this time? Hunch provides that answer, in 10 questions or less.
Like any computer algorithm, Hunch’s artificial intelligence gets better by time. Each day, as more and more people answer existing questions and add new topics, the A.I. has more information to relate to your profile. The same goes for your own ‘decision profile’; the more questions you answer, the better Hunch will be at offering advice. Like any A.I. though, Hunch might make some people uneasy.
While the service is based on human input, should you ultimately trust a machine with your next travel destination or camera? The Hunch team have made it clear where the revenue comes from, which represents a plus for credibility, but you can never know for sure without seeing the backend code. Are the affiliate links to stores like Amazon enough to keep a company afloat, especially in this down market?
Hunch is very community oriented – providing users with the ability to comment on questions and advice, adding pros, cons and of course, your own questions on which the community can share its “˜wisdom’. You’re also able to follow questions and other users, in a similar fashion to Twitter or the Facebook newsfeed, directly from your profile page. Hunch also scores high points for the Settings panel which lets you easily delete your account, saved answers and profile privacy.
In tone with the summer beat (and heat for us poor guys in the northern hemisphere), you should definitely check out some of the summer related questions and answers as well as some of the great tech related topics.
Personally, I’ve found that the topics I went through all had relevant questions and perfectly reasonable suggestions. I especially enjoyed theone, which takes you through all the important aspects of making the decision. Even by asking yourself the questions presented, you are able to make a more informed decision.
A site similar to Hunch iswhich also leverages the power of user opinion to help you answer your questions.
Overall, Hunch gets my strong recommendation and a spot in my bookmarks bar. Visit Hunch and don’t forget to share your impressions and favorite topics in the comments.