Startup Spotlight: ‘Tinder for friends’ app Patook uses artificial intelligence to weed out flirting

Geosocial apps are having a bit of a moment. Tinder, Bumble, and a host of other services have emerged in recent years, promising to foster connections with real people, nearby. But online dating paved the way for these apps — and even supposedly platonic services like Bumble BFF have struggled to shrug off the romantic connotation. So where does that leave people who aren’t looking for love, but do want to use new technology to make friends? That question — or “shower thought,” as he puts it — motivated Antoine Daher to create Patook, an app that connects people based on common interests. It uses artificial intelligence to detect flirtatious messages and automatically bans users who send them. “The goal of Patook is to create an app where people can make new, interest-sharing platonic…


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