Jul 2 2011
BeOrNotToBe morphed into WasButIsNoMore. We’d like to think the last question submitted was whether the site should be-or-not-to-be. We’ll never know.
To be, or not to be: that is the question. This famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet is perhaps the most iconic line of all his works. In it Hamlet contemplates the merits of suicide. That passage has been the bane of High school students who are forced to memorize it, of which the first line is the one anyone actually knows when they go watch a Shakespearean play.
Perhaps the reason this line has reached such widespread fame is that it’s a question each of us face every day. We’re presented with decisions both large and small that will have consequences. Sometimes these are trivial things, such as whether to eat beef or pork for lunch. Other times they’re deep life impacting decisions such as where to live, what job to take, or who to date.
Everybody has their own method for coming up with an answer. These range from seeking advice from friends, drawing from previous life experience, or just picking something and going with it. One mantra is to live with no regrets and don’t ever second guess the choices you make. The other mantra is to learn from one’s mistakes. Each has its merits. Now there’s a way to bypass the complex decision making process altogether. Fear not fair people, all your decision making needs have now been resolved, with BeOrNotToBe.
BeOrNotToBe, (found at beornottobe.net), is the ultimate decision making tool. Just type in your Yes/No question and the response will come back to you. Its proprietary algorithm does the hard work for you making any decision easy.
So I decided to give try it out. First I typed in whether I should visit Cancun for the summer. It came back with a resounding yes. Next I asked if I should call my ex girlfriend. Right on queue the answer came back with a clear no. Then I asked if I should go to the gym the next day. Again it assured me with the sage advice that yes I should go to the gym tomorrow. Man, this thing is good.
I spent some time trying to discern how it can be so accurate with its decisions. I ultimately came to the conclusion that they formed a secret alliance with Facebook and Google and know everything about me. I strongly suspect that they have a database full of all the possible questions I may ask. From there qualified therapists have sorted through them and indicated the correct answer. That way when I do ask a question the answer is waiting for me. I’m still waiting back from the makers of BeOrNotToBe to confirm my theory of their inner workings. As of yet they aren’t saying anything about it one way or the other. Likely this is due to non disclosure agreements they were required to sign with their sources.
On a more practical level BeOrNotToBe provides a role playing service. Whenever you’re contemplating a complex life question you can type it in and view the response. The responses really do come back in a loud upfront manner which jolts you a bit. It makes it seem final. In this moment of finality it’s easier to envision your life were you to make that choice. From there you can decide if that’s a path you’d like to follow or not. (Not that I question the inherent accuracy of BeOrNotToBe’s algorithmic responses of course.)
BeOrNotToBe is a fun website that is admittedly a bit goofy. Its responses did come back to me with a surprising rate of accuracy though. I can only imagine how such an algorithm is constructed, but I can at least appreciate that it seemed to have a better than 50/50 success rate. Some people pick petals off of flowers, others flip a coin, and of course there’s always the magic 8 ball. And now there’s BeOrNotToBe- the ultimate online decision making assistant.