Every: An AI-Powered App by Hungryroot Founder for Self-Reflection and Human Connection
Every: Hungryroot founder Ben McKean has launched a new venture aimed at using AI technology to foster self-reflection and human connection. McKean’s app, called Every, offers thought-provoking games designed to help users discover more about themselves and find common ground with others. With a focus on deepening relationships, Every leverages AI to create personalized experiences and prompts users to explore their inner selves. This innovative app has the potential to revolutionize the way we connect with ourselves and others in a meaningful and authentic way.
As the founder and CEO of the healthy grocery delivery service, Hungryroot, Ben McKean has delved into the potential of AI technologies to enhance his business operations. However, with the launch of his intriguing new venture – an app named Every – McKean is aiming to harness the power of AI for a different purpose: to help individuals foster deeper connections with themselves and others while discovering common ground.
Every, currently operating as a nonprofit entity, has introduced an iOS app that leverages advanced AI technologies to create engaging and thought-provoking games focused on self-discovery.
For instance, upon joining, all users embark on an enthralling journey called “Inner Odyssey.” This game encourages participants to select an image that best represents the place they aspire to explore. Choices range from a picturesque cobblestoned city street to a serene natural landscape featuring a river and trees, a whimsical castle, or a secluded remote island. Subsequently, users are presented with follow-up questions, such as who they would choose as their travel companion, what role they envision themselves playing, and which travel advice resonates most with their aspirations, among others.
While engaging with the app, you’ll have the opportunity to observe how others respond to the same questions. Upon completing a session, you’ll be encouraged to discover which of your connections—those from your uploaded contact list—shared similar answers. According to McKean, the inspiration to develop an app centered around human connections had been brewing for some time, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, which left many feeling more isolated than ever.
He explains, “There’s a substantial number of individuals who experience a sense of disconnection, even from those closest to them. Shockingly, 58% of Americans report that no one in their life truly knows them well. Additionally, a staggering 70% of Americans believe that distrust is negatively impacting American society.” McKean draws attention to these alarming statistics, underlining the loneliness epidemic and the challenges surrounding human connection.
Furthermore, McKean acknowledges that he has personally experienced the challenges of forming meaningful connections in the course of his entrepreneurial journey, particularly while leading teams. This firsthand experience has fueled his motivation to address these issues. Interestingly, McKean envisions the potential to adapt Every’s model for workplace use, with a focus on fostering stronger bonds among colleagues, albeit with a less personal line of questioning.
Surprisingly, despite Every’s primary focus on enhancing human connectivity, the app’s engaging games were created with the assistance of AI technology. Specifically, these games were developed by training large language models and utilizing technology from OpenAI and Midjourney. In addition to addressing his own need, this process also allowed McKean to further hone his AI skills, which could have a significant impact on his primary business venture, Hungryroot. Notably, Hungryroot is a company heavily reliant on AI-driven solutions. Each of the games featured in the app draws inspiration from a specific topic or individual, serving as the initial input for the AI-driven creative process.
In the case of the latter, the company has forged partnerships with inspirational figures for specific topics. One notable example is Hector Guadalupe, the founder of A Second U Foundation, an organization dedicated to helping individuals develop essential skills for success in life after incarceration. These topics or individuals serve as the foundation upon which the generative AI process begins. Subsequently, the team employs a structured framework to formulate the questions integrated into the prompts for the games. (It’s worth mentioning that Guadalupe’s AI-inspired game is scheduled for release on October 25).
While the AI’s output may still require some degree of human intervention, as the team has been training their models for a relatively short period of six months, McKean points out that the AI is essentially responsible for creating the games in their entirety. Additionally, the visually engaging images that accompany the game’s questions are crafted with the assistance of Midjourney.
The strategy is to introduce a new game daily, aligning with the app’s namesake, “Every,” and assigning a distinct theme to each day of the week. For instance, Mondays will be dedicated to career-related games, while Fridays will embrace a more playful tone. Saturdays will revolve around themes of family connections, and Sundays will delve into spirituality and philosophy. Additionally, Every aims to tailor its games to align with current events. For instance, during a presidential election period, users may encounter a game centered on politics, offering a relevant and engaging experience.
Upon completing the games, the app provides access to inspirational content based on your responses. This content includes enriching videos that spotlight specific topics, such as pursuing your aspirations or highlighting the significance of creativity.
Another noteworthy feature within the app, labeled “Map,” leverages AI technology to generate a personalized map of your traits based on the points you accumulate while engaging with Every’s games. After trying out the initial game, my map informed me of my top traits, including characteristics like reason and an appreciation for finding happiness in life’s simple joys—qualities I wouldn’t contest. Furthermore, users have the option to express agreement or disagreement with these findings by giving them a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, thereby enhancing the accuracy of the trait analysis.
The core concept behind these games is to foster not only greater self-awareness but also a deeper understanding of the shared commonalities you have with people you already know. This newfound awareness can serve as a catalyst for strengthening these relationships. For instance, you might discover that an old friend shares your passion for international travel, or you might realize that a colleague values humility in the workplace as much as you do. As you glean insights from the app’s revelations, you may feel inspired to take action, such as initiating conversations to explore these newfound connections.
“A significant part of our mission revolves around facilitating meaningful connections between individuals, one-on-one connections,” explains McKean. “But it’s also about broadening the scope and uncovering common ground on a more comprehensive level.” He emphasizes that by presenting the same game to every user, the app has the potential to unearth shared interests and commonalities between two seemingly different individuals.
Every is a self-funded initiative, primarily spearheaded by Ben McKean, with the operational support of two dedicated women, Sarah McKean (Ben’s cousin), and Maya Valliath. The development of the app was entrusted to an outsourced firm with specialized expertise. As of now, the plan is to maintain Every as a free app and a side project. However, should it gain significant traction and popularity, McKean remains open to the possibility of scaling it into a more substantial business endeavor, potentially seeking investment support.
The app has been in beta testing since March and was officially launched on the App Store today. It is available for free download, with no in-app purchases required.
Using “Every” offers several benefits for users
1. Self-Discovery: Every’s thought-provoking games are designed to help users explore their own thoughts, feelings, and desires. By engaging in these games and answering the questions, users gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their own preferences. This self-awareness can lead to personal growth and a better understanding of one’s own identity.
2. Connection with Others: Every’s games not only help users discover more about themselves but also provide insights into how others think and feel. Users can see how their friends, family, or colleagues respond to the same questions, which can create opportunities for deeper conversations and connections. It allows individuals to find common ground with others and strengthen their relationships.
3. Combating Loneliness: In today’s fast-paced and digitally connected world, it’s not uncommon for people to feel disconnected and lonely. Every aims to address this issue by fostering human connection and creating a sense of belonging. By using the app and engaging in meaningful conversations based on the insights gained, users can combat the feelings of loneliness and build stronger relationships.
4. Inspirational Content: After playing the games, Every provides users with inspirational content based on their responses. This content includes videos that highlight various topics such as pursuing dreams, the importance of creativity, and more. By consuming this content, users can be inspired and motivated to take action in their own lives.
5. Workplace Bonding: While Every primarily focuses on personal connections, there is potential to adapt the app for use in the workplace as well. By engaging in the games and conversations with colleagues, Every can help foster stronger bonds and connections among team members. This can lead to a more collaborative and supportive work environment.
In a world that often feels more disconnected than ever, Every offers a refreshing and innovative approach to fostering human connection. Through thought-provoking games and AI-driven technology, users have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of themselves and others, discovering shared interests and common ground along the way. With its focus on creating meaningful connections and promoting self-awareness, Every has the potential to not only improve personal relationships but also enhance workplace dynamics. As founder Ben McKean continues to develop and refine the app, it’s exciting to see how Every can positively impact the lives of its users and contribute to a more connected society.
What are your thoughts on the concept of using AI-driven technology to foster self-reflection and human connection, as seen in Every’s approach? Would you be open to using an app like Every to explore self-discovery and build stronger connections with others in your personal and professional life? Share your insights below.