A robot that will help me make decisions.
June 5, 2013 6:29 PM   Subscribe

Looking for an app or desktop program that will help me clarify my thoughts and make decisions. Requirements within.

In the early 80s, I had a program for my Apple IIC called "Decision Maker" (or something similar). You'd enter the options you were trying to decide between, then add and weight factors relating to the decision. At the end, the program would reveal the choice you should make based on your answers.

I'm looking for a similar app or program that will help me make decisions or clarify my thoughts. Ideally, the program(s) could have these elements:

-Ask me clarifying questions about my issue, much like a therapist would. There would not have to be an AI element -- these could be writing prompts which focus and guide me so I can coherently write my thoughts. I would prefer prompts that build upon each other, instead of just random prompts. (Example questions: "What are you most afraid of losing in this scenario?" or "What's the best possible outcome?" Shrink-y questions like that.)

-Perhaps have me weigh factors in the decision, much like my beloved DOS Decision Maker. Using the numbers I provide, it will spit out the most favorable option.

Basically, I'm looking for an app that emulates (inasmuch as an app can) the structured questioning of therapy.

What I'm not looking for: an AI chat bot like Eliza, an online journal or a real-person online therapist. The new iPad app, Unstuck, gets close to this, but it's a little overdesigned for what I'm looking for and at the end spits out a generic "You are [this kind of a person]! You should do these [generic things]." I either want something that gives no advice (just questions) or numerically weighs my answers (or both).

Does something like exist? I'm an OS and iOS user. Thanks!
posted by Zosia Blue to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I think I've found the program you were talking about - Is this screen shot familiar?
posted by Brent Parker at 6:39 PM on June 5, 2013

Submitted too soon - anyhow if that's simliar, what you are looking for is this program - Flying Logic. You have to structure the decision making yourself and design the systems, but it pretty much meets all your requirements.
posted by Brent Parker at 6:42 PM on June 5, 2013

Response by poster: Brent Parker, nice find, but that wasn't it. Appreciate the digging. This was text only. I *think* I programmed it using one of those books that had lists of code you could plug into your computer.
posted by Zosia Blue at 7:13 PM on June 5, 2013

If you could find that book, translating it into another language shouldn't be that hard.
posted by Brent Parker at 7:16 PM on June 5, 2013

Mindjet and its desktop cousin MindManager seem to be one similar approach. MindMeister looks to have iOS and Android apps. Should get you started.

To help you search, the generic terms here are "mind map", "decision analysis", "decision tree", "outline processor" (e.g. ThinkTank for the Mac), and more generically, "outliner(s)".
posted by dhartung at 11:12 PM on June 5, 2013

This is weird, but as a summer project, I was planning on writing a Python program to help pick restaurants... with the way I've got it planned out, it could possibly be generalized to walk through other decisions. So, if you can't find what you're looking for, I might have something usable in a few months.
posted by COBRA! at 7:15 AM on June 6, 2013

Have you heard of Oblique Strategies? Sounds like just what you need. I'm not aware of an app, but I created this simple Javascript version a couple of years ago that you're more than welcome to bookmark.
posted by monospace at 12:58 PM on June 6, 2013

Response by poster: Sorry for the late reply here. Thank you for these suggestions! I wanted you to know, too, that I found an app/site that more or less does what I want: http://www.letsimondecide.com/

I was less interested in concept mapping (or visual decision-making), and more interested in text-based and numerics.

Monospace: Thank you for this! Bookmarked.

My pal COBRA!: That's an excellent summer project. Let me know if you end up making it?
posted by Zosia Blue at 8:05 AM on June 13, 2013

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