There will probably always be apps that serve little real-world use, or are so focused on technology that it is extremely hard for the average person to understand what they are for.
At last night’s New York Tech Meetup, a happy middle ground of mirth was found with a batch of apps created with comedy firmly in mind. Normally the monthly demos at NYTM, hosted by the New York Tech Alliance, feature ideas that are raw and in development from the local tech community. Monday played differently, showcasing the finalists from events company Cultivated Wit’s latest Comedy Hack Day.
NYTM and Cultivated Wit have worked together previously: in June 2015, four finalists from Comedy Hack Day went on stage alongside the usual demos. Last night was all about comedy and tech, with guest judges Anil Dash, Aparna Nancheria, and Roy Wood Jr. picking the ultimate winner (see slideshow above).
Evening host Baratunde Thurston, co-founder of Cultivated Wit, said this was not just about goofing off, but to “humanize technology, which is in great need, and to expand the range and power and empathy that’s built into humor.” The teams worked on their ideas over this past weekend, at General Assembly in the Flatiron District, which saw 82 developers, designers, and comedians come together.
There were 94 ideas pitched at the hackathon, Thurston said. No one was allowed to bring prebuilt apps to the competition. Though they were not finalists, Thurston gave special mention to ideas such as WokeUpCall, a service that calls users’ phones throughout the day to remind them about systematic oppression; and Friendless, “which works like Seamless, except the delivery person stays and eats the meal with you.”