Thanks to an introduction from Debbie Millman, I got to have lunch today with Josh Liberson. Josh is the cofounder of Helicopter. (For more on Helicopter, see the paragraph below, courtesty of Debbie's post on Air American.)
Somewhere in the middle of the conversation we found ourself talking about the social intelligence we would like to have built into our phone. We decided we wanted the social equivalent of Shazam, that wonderful program for iPhone that allows us to point the phone at a sound and await identification.
What Josh and I wanted was a program that takes a photo of the people, building, event, and searches for a match. Josh and I had lunch in a crowded restaurant. We felt certain that a social Schazam would make fast work of the faces, tailoring, and speech patterns of the guys at the table behind us. This sounds fantastic, implausible. But don't forget, Schazam performs an astonishing act of pattern recognition. It appears to "know" every song in the Western catalog and to be able to find a match in something like 14 seconds.
We didn't want to know anything very personal. We wanted a readout like this: the man facing east was raised in Missippippi, got his education in the Pacific Northwest, and has lived in Manhattan for 5 to 10 years. We want Dr. Doolittle in a box. I know it sounds implausible. But if you have described Schazam to me 6 weeks ago, I would have said, "Impossible, not in my life time!"
Helicopter is a full-service strategic design consultancy founded in 2002. Helicopter has worked with Condé Nast, Capitol Records, André Balazs Properties, Hachette, Time Inc., Warner Brothers, Universal, Arista, Rizzoli, Bloomsbury, The New York Times, and the Washington Post Company on a host of projects ranging from magazine design, book design, identity, web design and packaging to concept creation and luxury package production. Helicopter has won awards in ID, Print, AIGA, ADC, and been nominated for a Grammy Award in packaging. For more information about their work you can go to http://www.hellochopper.com