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This article was published on November 26, 2020

Suck at gifting? This GPT-3-powered bot will save your ass this holiday season

Suck at gifting? This GPT-3-powered bot will save your ass this holiday season
Abhimanyu Ghoshal
Story by

Abhimanyu Ghoshal

Managing Editor

Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and Abhimanyu is TNW's Managing Editor, and is all about personal devices, Asia's tech ecosystem, as well as the intersection of technology and culture. Hit him up on Twitter, or write in: [email protected].

The vast number of festive socks you got over the past several years’ holidays bears testament to the global lack of imagination when it comes to gifts. We can do better, and we will, with the help of OpenAI’s GPT-3.

More specifically, I urge you to try out GiftGenius, a handy AI concierge that claims to use the GPT-3 language model to recommend suitable gifts for everyone in your life.

GiftGenius comes up with some surprisingly good gift recommendations
GiftGenius comes up with some surprisingly good gift recommendations

Simply describe a recipient with something like ‘my buddy from college who is 35, enjoys photography, and has a three-year-old son,’ and the bot will parse your query to come up with surprisingly decent suggestions.

In this case, it spat out recommendations for camera-equipped drones for my friend to capture aerial photos and videos of his son, as well as DSLR lenses “to get better shots at sporting events or on family adventures,” and “A photo book of his sons first year To help him relive all the memories he has missed while at work or traveling for business (sic).”

These suggestions for a dad interested in photography actually make sense
These suggestions for a dad interested in photography actually make sense

You can adjust a slider beneath your query to receive less creative or more creative suggestions, and the items are all available on Amazon US. The site also breaks these up into sections, each corresponding to ideas GPT-3 came up with based on your query.

GiftGenius is a clever implementation of OpenAI‘s powerful language model, and it generally does a good job of coming up with suggestions because the working premise makes sense. When you describe the person you’re shopping for, you mention things about who they are, and that allows for various prompts for gifts they might enjoy.

The site came up with a bunch of neat ideas I may not have otherwise thought of for other people on my list: an aromatherapy oil diffuser for a friend who’s into meditation, a gardening journal for my mother who’s currently obsessed with house plants.

I probably wouldn't have thought of most of the ideas on this page for my gardener mom
I probably wouldn’t have thought of most of the ideas on this page for my gardener mom

Even the ‘less creative’ options are useful (like a compost bin and a DIY automatic irrigation kit for my gardener mom), because they surface items you might not have spotted with a straightforward keyword search directly on Amazon or a similar web store.

Occasionally, some of the recommended items may be off by a little or a lot (my aforementioned query brought up a set of shot glasses, like because of GPT-3’s word association from ‘photography’ to ‘shots’). But hey, at least GiftGenius isn’t suggesting goddamn socks. Am I glad I came across it just in time for the holidays.

Just so you know, the project makes money when you click through to items listed on the site, as the URLs appear to have an affiliate code attached. We’ve contacted the developers to learn more about how GiftGenius works and if they have plans to develop it further, and we’ll update this story when we hear back.

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