Need help to make time to read this story? Well, now there's an app for that. The free iOS app, called Timeful, is the result of apparently time-efficient work by a group of experts in behavioral economics and artificial intelligence
The company's founders are Jacob Bank, Yoav Shoham, and Dan Ariely. Bank is a PhD candidate at Stanford who is using his knowledge of data mining and machine algorithms, and Shoham is a professor of computer science at Stanford who has worked extensively in AI. Ariely is a Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke, and an expert in in human fallibility and short-term thinking.
The basic idea behind their app is that it combines and presents everything that competes for your time -- events, to-dos and good habits that you want to cultivate -- then puts them into one place. The Mountain View, California startup said it accomplishes this by merging the concepts of a calendar and a to-do list, powered by an intelligent algorithm.
The algorithm makes suggestions about when those time-demanding events would best be scheduled, and, as the app learns your habits, the company claims the app can help create a better schedule. Currently, it supports such calendaring services as Apple iCal, Google Calendar, and Microsoft Exchange.
Users are encouraged to prioritize everything they have to do, and the app, launched Thursday, utilizes information from appointments, calendar, and declared short-term tasks and long-term goals. A user estimates how long it will take to complete each task or appointment.
Events are imported from the calendar on the iOS device into a daily task list, and tasks can be filed under such headings as Personal, Work, Fun or Important. Some tasks are designated as Good Habits, defined as things you want to continue doing but that somehow have been squeezed out of your schedule. These include, for instance, exercise, studying, gardening, or sleeping. Timeful acts as a silent nudge, encouraging the user to fit those Good Habits into an actual schedule.
Scheduling recommendations are based on the expected length of a task, available free time, and feedback. A tap on the screen tells the app that its suggestion was a good one, so it learns what works.
The app is designed for use on the iPhone or the iPod. The company said that it is built on two technical innovations. An algorithm called the Intention Rank uses machine learning and behavioral science to rank activities in time slots. There is also the Intention Genome, a data model that turns intentions into what the company calls the basic components.
On Your Schedule
While technology has been successfully applied to improve people's lives in search, finance, music, shopping and other areas, "we haven't applied it to optimize the user of our most scarce resource -- time -- and there's so much algorithms and behavioral science have to offer," Bank, the company's CEO, said in a statement.
This app, he said, is "based on the simple observation that what doesn't make it onto your schedule is less likely to get done." But, by putting everything into a schedule and automatically suggesting the best times, he said, "we hope to make you more productive and less stressed."
Posted: 2014-08-07 @ 11:54am PT
What are you talking about?
Posted: 2014-08-02 @ 4:24pm PT
Seems like another shameless way to mine more private data from the unsuspecting masses.
Posted: 2014-08-01 @ 11:10am PT
This app is a game-changer! Been using it since the beta stage...