It’s Valentine’s Day — the holiday on which couples profess their love for one another by gifting chocolates and roses, sharing candlelit meals, and basking together in the glow of a fire (or television). If you’re hitched and somehow procrastinated until now, not to worry — fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) can help. While robots lack the capacity for affection, they’re more than capable of reserving a floral bouquet, composing a heartfelt melody, and serving up the perfect recipe for a romantic home-cooked meal.
That’s all to say if you’re in need of a little machine learning assistance this V-Day, you’re in luck — lots of companies have it on tap. Here’s a roundup of the best we’ve seen.
Food Network — the television home of Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, and countless other celebrity gastronomers — has a new Alexa skill for Valentine’s Day dubbed Date Your Dessert. It’s as it sounds, more or less: Shouting the magic words (“Alexa, ask Food Network to play Date Your Dessert”) in the direction of an Amazon Alexa-enabled smart speaker, set-top box, or smart display queues up a game show in which you and your significant other are presented three recipes at random. You’re both tasked with uncovering the identity of said recipes from clues supplied by Date Your Dessert, after which you’re prompted to select a match. The icing on the cake? The winning recipe is emailed to your address, or displayed — completed with ingredients, directions, and video — on Alexa devices with screens.
Not all of us were born musicians. Thankfully for the musically challenged, Amadeus Code — the folks behind the melody-composing iOS app of the same name — have tapped the power of machine learning this V-Day to generate a single inspired by Taylor Swift.
The team describes its work — conducted solely in the Amadeus Code app — in a press release. They settled on a slow tempo (a sort of “pop ballad”) for their love song, and attempted to give the verses a “rhythmic” feel by keeping the note lengths short and the note range on the mid-to-low side. In order to contrast the verses and give the ditty a “dynamic” feel, they set the chorus’ note lengths longer and the range wider. Lastly, they exported the resulting MIDI file and handed it off to an arranger, who produced the track.
The result won’t win any Grammys, but it’s certainly … unique. And that’s why V-Day is about, after all — giving your significant other something to remember you by.
There’s perhaps no Valentine’s Day gift more iconic than fresh-picked forget-me-nots, chrysanthemums, and azaleas. Just ask 1-800-Flowers — the company has been in the floral business for more than 30 years, and it’s adapted with the times.
If Samsung’s Bixby, Alexa, or the Google Assistant are your intelligent assistants of choice, you’ve got the option of reserving gifts through 1-800-Flowers’ trio of voice experiences. (Try saying “Hi Bixby, I want to send flowers to my wife.”) Alternatively, if you prefer to peck out your selection on Facebook Messenger or via text, the retailer’s chatbots will cheerfully walk you through the ordering process — and provide shipping updates every step of the way. Can’t decide on a bouquet? It’s got your back there, too — asking any of 1-800-Flowers’ conversational apps “What’s her/his style?” will generate a recommendation based on your answers to three questions.
Valentine’s Day isn’t all about fancy dinners and gift-giving. Those gestures are a means to an end: mental wellness.
For those enduring V-Day without a loved one within arm’s reach, there’s Replika, a chatbot that aims to capture the feeling of conversing with a familiar someone by drawing on old transcripts and writing samples. Replika learns your tone and personality over time and regularly checks in, stores memories, and detects distress — all toward the goals of combating loneliness, isolation, and disconnection and promoting positive thinking, stress management, and socializing.
Better yet, it’s free — Replika’s “Pay What You Feel” value-for-value model lets friends and family spend nothing, if they want. “Too often people can’t afford or access therapy when they need it. Our goal is to provide constantly available mental wellness support that is easily affordable,” Eugenia Kuyda, Replika founder and CEO, said.
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