The developers of apps built with artificial intelligence (AI) often promise that they’ll make life easier and help us in ways we hadn’t thought possible, all thanks to their impressive knowledge.

However, sometimes they fall short of the mark.

Let’s look at several of them — plus some worthy alternatives.

1. Replika

Marketed as “an AI friend that is always there for you,” Replika seems like technology gold for people who struggle with loneliness or feel isolated from peers they see face to face.

Users interact with Replika via a chat-based interface by sharing what’s on their minds without fear of judgment.

While some users find their chats with Replika to be fun and humorous, other people think the app only gives pre-fabricated responses since it seems to ignore certain topics or provides answers that don’t fit conversations in context. Others worry data mining purposes played a role in the app’s creation.

Use Instead — Woebot

Woebot is another chat-based application that learns things about you over time and teaches you worthwhile strategies for improving your mental health.

Woebot reduces depression symptoms, and like Replika, it’s always available for you to interact with.

2. LKBL — The Beauty Meter

This app uses AI training from a million images to analyze pictures of people and provide them with numerical scores.

The closer a person gets to a score of ten, the higher the amount of perceived beauty. The app also has another segment that aims to analyze whether two people make a good couple.

On the app’s Product Hunt page, the creators wrote, “If you believe that [the] beauty of [a] person lies under the surface and cannot be determined by a machine, we think you are right. We have the same opinion.”

But, LKBL’s concept suggests otherwise. Sure, LKBL might be fun for some, but the internet and social media can wreak havoc on self-esteem as it is, and in my opinion, this app doesn’t help.

Use Instead — EyeEm Selects

EyeEm Selects reduces the struggle of deciding which photos to upload from your smartphone.

It doesn’t have a scoring component but uses AI vision technology to analyze the pictures and give advice about which ones to make public.

3. Smarter Time

As it is now, Smarter Time needs substantial improvement before it can be practical for users. It learns users’ habits over time, but training the app is time-consuming.

Also, it seems to make assumptions about what users are doing, such as noting they’re sleeping, even though that might not be true.

Use Instead — RescueTime

Although RescueTime doesn’t have an AI component, it does a nice job keeping track of how you typically spend your day.

From the data it compiles, you can see patterns in your habits, such as that you spend more time than expected reading email each day or that you spend over a half-hour of time at work browsing entertainment sites.

Then, it’s easy to notice some of your most evident shortcomings. Once you’re aware of them, you’ve taken the first step in changing habits for the better — and for good.

4. Fin

Many of us lead extremely busy lives and wish we had an assistant to lend a helping hand. Fin is the AI version of a real-life secretary — although humans help with its tasks. Fin can understand what you ask and transcribes your requests. Then, humans respond to your needs accordingly.

The more specific you get, the better. For example, one recent request a person made was, “Good morning, Fin. My dog's name is Trixie, and she needs a haircut. Will you please call PetChoice and ask them if they have any available grooming for this Friday? I work from home most Fridays, and I'd like to make it a recurring task once a month. Let me know.”

The app learns your preferences over time, and creators wanted it to directly compete with other virtual assistants such as the Google Assistant and Siri.

Fin seems like it fills a need in the marketplace, and it learns from the interactions people have with it. But, the assistance comes at a cost.

A common complaint is that the app and its human assistants take too long to do tasks, leading to extraordinary bills.

One person mentioned that Fin took 46 minutes to send an appointment-booking email, and another user stated that adding two events to a calendar was a 23-minute task.

When you consider that Fin’s pay-as-you-go pricing plan costs a dollar per minute, it’s no wonder people aren’t happy.

Use Instead — x.ai

x.ai is an intelligent, AI-powered helper that lives in your inbox. You CC the x.ai email address in an initial message to set up the meeting, then let the app take care of the back-and-forth communications that follow.

Due to the time it saves you by scheduling meetings on your behalf, you’ll have more of your day left to do other tasks.

Try Alternatives

Some so-called “smart” apps may not be as intelligent or necessary as we want or may seem at first.

Fortunately, though, you now have alternatives to try instead.

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