AI and personal mobile safety apps

I recently tried ChatGPT by OpenAI. I’d heard about it, didn’t expect much. Shame on me.

It’s interesting to see how AI has evolved from clunky, tilted responses, to smooth flowing text, which informs the reader on the topic asked. Let’s dive in.

The results

I typed the search ‘Personal mobile safety apps’ and this was the response:

A personal safety app is a mobile application that provides various features to help users stay safe and connected in emergency situations. Here are some common features of personal safety apps:

  1. Emergency contacts: Users can set up a list of emergency contacts, such as friends or family members, who can be contacted in case of an emergency.
  2. GPS tracking: Personal safety apps can use GPS tracking to locate users, and send help to their exact location in case of an emergency.
  3. Panic button: Some apps have a panic button feature that can be activated by the user in case of an emergency, which sends an alert to emergency contacts and/or the authorities.
  4. Safety check-in: Users can set up safety check-ins that prompt them to check in at specific intervals to let their emergency contacts know they are safe.
  5. Walking routes: Some personal safety apps provide walking routes that are safer, and well-lit to help users avoid dangerous areas.
  6. Fake calls: Some apps provide a fake call feature that can be used to create a distraction, or an excuse to leave an uncomfortable or dangerous situation.
  7. Safety tips: Personal safety apps can provide tips and advice on how to stay safe in different situations, such as traveling alone or walking at night.

There are many personal safety apps available on app stores, and users should do their research to choose one that meets their needs and provides reliable and effective safety features.

The results

The results weren’t too bad, unsurpising, highlighting the general feature sets of personal mobile safety apps. It’s worth exploring two of the points, #5 and #6.

Number 5

Apps which advise walking routes because they are ‘safer,’ should be taken with a grain of salt. Two points to keep in mind.

1. Identify how an app determines what is a ‘safe’ area versus ‘unsafe.’ Is the data sourced from official statistics or crowd sourced. Points to remember, official crime statistics don’t always present an accurate picture and there is the issue of under reporting. Crowd sourced information can be subject to bias.

2. Good things happen in bad places and bad things happen in good places. It’s a good saying to remember. It’s not cause to be hyper vigilant all the time, but be aware of your surrounds.

Number 6

I have an issue with fake calls. These may have value for some people, however I see this is largely redundant as a safety feature, and doesn’t address the immediate issue if you are feeling unsafe. If a person is feeling unsafe or uncomfortable, be an adult and leave, or activate the Help alert in your app. Fake calls don’t change a situation and they reduce your credibility, that you actually have another person with overwatch on your movements. Potential offenders detect this and use it to their advantage.

Get an app for your needs

AI driven products like ChatGPT are the future, a source on which content creators can draw upon, and add their layer of insight.

When it comes to personal safety apps, there are a large cross section on the market. Before you start downloading and subscribing, think about what your requirements, what are the use cases – how you will use these apps and who will you be sharing with.

A key consideration is privacy. Check how your data is used. Free apps might exchange usage for tracking your location data, which is on sold to marketers. At the end of the day, select an app that strikes a balance between your safety needs, ease of use and price point.