Most apps are way too nice to us. “Don’t worry that you missed your 10,000 steps today,” they say. “There’s always tomorrow.”
CARROT apps are different. Whether you’re using a CARROT calorie counter or a CARROT weather forecaster, all the apps in the growing line have one thing in common: an hilariously sadistic AI character that serves as your in-app guide, dishing out harsh punishments if you miss your targets.
“So many of the apps out there are just cloyingly sweet, CARROT creator Brian Mueller tells Cult of Mac. “They’re always telling you that you’re doing a good job, no matter what you’re doing. I wondered what would happen if you did the opposite and created a sarcastic, irreverent personality who would yell at you if you don’t get stuff done. And, to my surprise, people really, really responded to it.”
Back in 2001, a freelance copywriter named Vinnie Chieco who was hired to help Apple come up with a name for their MP3 player took one look at the device and exclaimed: “Open the Pod Bay Doors, HAL!” And thus, the iPod was christened.
Chieco was making a tongue-in-cheek pop reference to Stanley Kubrick’s transcendental sci-fi masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey, in which a ship’s onboard AI, HAL 9000, makes an evolutionary leap after coming in radio contact with a monolith circling Jupiter. Acting erratically, HAL 9000 eventually lashes out, revealing a murderous new self-preservation instinct when his human charges want to shut him down.
Perhaps because HAL isn’t exactly cinema’s most touchy-feely computer, Apple wasn’t willing to embrace the association between 2001 and the iPod line. But now that HAL’s soothingly detached cadence and artificial intelligence capabilities have been mimicked by Siri, perhaps it’s time to revisit the connection with ThinkGeek’s new Iris 9000 voice control module that will let you Siri from across the room… or trapped on the opposite side of the pod bay doors rocketing through deep space.
Make HAL proud and help Siri touch the monolith. It only costs $59.99.