For this assignment I created an imagined language-learning app. Language apps like Duolingo are incredibly popular, but after doing some research I discovered that they really do not work if one wants to develop language skills beyond some basic vocabulary and grammar skills. In addition, despite close to 30 million active users, Duolingo does not make a profit. I imagined an app that takes the basic design of Duolingo but uses facial recognition that is capable of reading lips to create an accurate chatbot. This overcomes the problems with software that relies on audio recognition alone, which is why other language chatbot prototypes have failed.
The hypothetical app could work, but I tried to focus on profitability. To do this, I came up with the idea of embedding hidden advertising so even users willing to pay subscription fees to remove pop up ads, would still be subjected to more subtle advertising. Instead of learning how to order a meal in another language at a generic restaurant, users would practice ordering at brand-name restaurants willing to pay for product placement. The second part of my evil plan was to collect facial recognition and user data to sell, possibly for targeted-ads. At the end of the day, the primary motivation for most potential investors is money. Even the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (OTPPB) bought shares in Geo Group Inc., a company that runs controversial migrant detention centers and private U.S. prisons. Yes, I just used the OTPPB’s unethical investing to justify my unethical business model….probably a good thing I did not pursue a career in business!