Developer Ethan Gliechtenstein created ‘Ethan’ so total strangers could ask him anything they wanted
Dealing with Siri can be frustrating, given that she's a computerised creature still learning to listen to actual human beings. So why not just go to an actual human for the goods? Ethan is a new app that offers a similar answers-based service, except it's run by a real-life person: a developer called Ethan Gliechtenstein.
The set-up is simple: anybody who downloads it can message Ethan for his opinion on anything they want – love life problems, what movie to rent on Netflix, where to go for lunch. There are only nine rules, one of which is: "Don't ask if I'm real (I am)". The app also warns against falling in love with TextEthan or asking it questions in an emergency.
Gliechtenstein initially set up the app as a way of talking to his friends, but its popularity exploded when the app was shared through ever-expanding social circles. Now he says that the app is downloaded once every minute. Now he's struggling to keep up with the questions, but he says he's going to keep going as far as he can.
How does it feel to be the human Siri?
Ethan: You do realize Siri is an imposter pretending to be human. I don't trust her.
What’s the weirdest thing that you’ve been asked?
Ethan: I had a guy message me his entire camera roll one photo at a time, with commentary for each photo.
Has anyone ever shown signs of falling in love with you?
Ethan: Yes, a lot of girls used to ask me to be their boyfriend, ask me where I live, ask me how old I am. But I tell them I'm a dangerous man and they shouldn't fall in love. Now with the rules on the website that number has decreased. They're all nice girls, it's not them, it's me.
Do you always answer honestly?
Ethan: I always answer honestly and sincerely to people who are looking for serious second opinion. But a lot of people also use me as an 8 ball. Like "does he love me?", "will the 49ers win?", etc. In those cases I try to bring out my inner astrologist and answer based on intuition.
What’s the best answer you’ve given?
Ethan: When I'm asked what movie to watch on Netflix I always recommend The Room. It's a movie that anyone must watch at least once before they die.
Do you think that you’ve ever truly helped someone?
Ethan: Yes, you'll never guess how many people ask me if they should confess to their crush. My answer is always yes. And they get the courage to go up and confess. And at least a dozen people have so far texted me back something like "she said yes!!!!"
Do you have regular “customers”?
Ethan: Yeah there are these four guys, two cute couples who send me pictures of them hanging out together for dinner party, and next day having a brunch, and then later at the beach. Just like this, a lot of people text me casually like texting their real friend. Kind of like snapchatting with an imaginary friend. I like these kinds of interactions.
How long do you see yourself carrying on with Text Ethan?
Ethan: I will try to keep texting as much as I can to help people with the Ethan app. However It's not just about the Ethan app itself. Imagine a world where everyone has their own chat app. You may say I'm a dreamer. But I'm not the only one. Already thousands of people have requested invite to have their own version of Ethan so I'm excited.