According tomedia reports, artificial intelligence algorithms have recently been controversial because they are plagued by widespread bias and unfairness. This summer, for example, after student protests, Britain abandoned test scores generated by controversial algorithms. While many people don’t trust the algorithm, the walking route app Go Jauntly may have found a redeeming use case for AI to boost the spirits of app users by 2020.
Go Jauntly’s beta version introduces an algorithm-driven route feature that uses its understanding of user walking behavior to recommend “green routes” within the user’s neighborhood – meaning that the most leafy, pleasant/scenic (i.e. less polluted) urban walking routes are recommended as much as possible.
The Go Jauntly app has been available since 2017 and has been downloaded more than 175,000 times so far, but it hopes the algorithm-driven “green route” will become a large-scale “game changer” – given that all walking routes in the app have so far been created manually (including those submitted by some users).
Still, the feature is only available to app users in the UK and Ireland (and only on iOS; Android will get it next spring) – but is scheduled to be rolled out globally later in 2021. Go Jauntly’s other apps are currently available in Sweden, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
In addition to recommending the most scenic/least polluted routes between destinations in the UK and Ireland, the algorithm can also recommend routes that start and end at one location – for walks from 10 minutes to more than 2 hours.
Machine learning technology that powers green routes is taking advantage of external environmental data sources, including the Quiet Cities Index ,which maps London based on quiet-related measures such as low pollution and noise, and OpenStreetMap and GraphHopper data for routing. Go Jauntly is keen to get testers to put on hiking boots and conduct road tests of algorithmicly programmed trails to feedback data and help their models improve over time.
Go Jauntly says it wants to continue developing algorithmic capabilities to include more data sets in the future — such as accessible information, toilets and historical points of interest — to expand the type of route demand it can support, in an effort to achieve what it calls “the “natural prescription” of cross-platform digital by 2021.
It monies its community of hiking-loving users with an optional premium subscription, resulting in additional content such as planned walking routes and guides, as well as the ability to download certain types of content, such as walking routes for offline use.