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Future Tech: 

pplkpr is the app for analyzing your friendships


Pplkpr’s creators were best friends until the app they designed told them not to be

If the thought of using Tinder to pair up with complete strangers has you unconvinced, then wait until you hear this. Students at Carnegie Mellon university have developed a smartphone app that will analyze your existing friendships, helping you understand which ones are golden, and which might be worth knocking on the head.

Pplkpr – short for people keeper – was created by Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald, pairing with a wristband that monitors your heartbeat and tells you when somebody’s company is stressing you out. Because, if not an app, how would you be able to work that out for yourself – right?

The app measures subtle changes in the rhythm of your heart rate to judge when you’re experiencing heightened emotion, before prompting you to decide what that emotion is. The app will learn more about your relationships as you record these patterns, and can even take actions on your behalf. It could compose a text message, for instance, invite a contact to hang out or even delete them.

Surely this is a joke, right?

It is and it isn’t. McCarthy and McDonald stress that pplkpr is a fully functional app (you can download it in the app store) based on scientific research, but they wouldn’t necessarily download it themselves.

“We are two artists that created it as a provocation, a taste of where we may be heading with our quantified living and algorithmic decision making,” they explain on the app’s website. “It relates to some previous projects we’ve made like us+, Social Turkers, and Conversnitch. We hope that seeing and trying the app will enable people to think critically about this future and speak out about what we do and don’t want to manifest.”

So, is pplkpr part of a future that you’re happy to be part of? Check out the app’s website for more information and download it from iTunes if you fancy giving it a whirl. What’s the worst that can happen?

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