How To

How useful is Hunch?

Jonathan Riggall

Published is a recently launched ‘decision engine’, which has got quite a bit of attention due to one of the company being Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake.

Microsoft’s heavily covered Bing has been called a decision engine – by Microsoft – which I don’t understand as it’s just a search engine. I think it’s a good search engine, for what it’s worth, but not a decision engine. Hunch is what you’d expect a decision engine to be. You ask a question like,

Should I get an iPhone or a Pre?” and it helps you make a decision. In theory.

It’s still growing, not all questions work, and it’s very much a US site – English people have to remember to say vacation, not holiday! I thought I’d put Hunch through it’s paces and see if I agreed with it. To my first question, above, Hunch said I was 99% in favour of an iPhone. I tried Xbox 360 versus Playstation 3, and was told I was 60% in favour of an Xbox. That’s lucky, as I’ve already got one.

These questions weren’t so hard, though. I could make my own mind up about purchases, so I moved on to more important life issues. First up, “What should I eat for lunch?”. I wasn’t too impressed with Hunch’s answers. It suggested Indian or Chines food, and Pasta. It might as well have suggested I wanted “food” for lunch. I want specifics!

Hunch asks you a series of questions to get to know you better, but it still doesn’t know me that well, so perhaps I should forgive it not being specific.  However, my second important question was “Should I get married?” Personally, I don’t think so: I’m a 21st century citizen, and don’t need such arcane public institutions! However:

…apparently I’m wrong! Should I trust a decision engine more than my own brain? I think I’ll buy an iPhone, go and eat some ‘food’ and think about it.

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