We’ve all had them: People we consider friends who don’t always behave in accordance with the unspoken rulebook of what actually makes a good companion. Identifying and weeding out these types usually takes an excess of self-awareness and critical thinking on your part, so it’s not too surprising that technology is coming to the rescue with a new app that identifies your most toxic friends for you.
Pplkpr—pronounced “People Keeper”—was developed by artists Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald and it’s being framed as art, a sort of satire of the information era we’re currently living in. “I think we’re both really critical of the current attitude towards [quantification], which seems to be super utopian, data-happy, collect everything,” McCarthy told Wired.
Still, the app is a fully functioning one—it connects to a Bluetooth heart rate monitor and measures your response when certain friends are around.
For example, if you’re getting a drink with your old colleague Stephanie, and she doesn’t stop gushing about her wedding, there’s a change you might start to feel a certain level of anxiety about your single status, causing your stress levels to rise. The monitor would pick this up, effectively warning you that Stephanie’s someone who makes you anxious, potentially making her a toxic friend if patterns are recognized.
As Wired points out, the app still works without a heart monitor—you manually have to enter how certain friends make you feel, and Pplkpr will keep track and eke out patterns, so you’ll eventually know which members of your posse are giving you bad vibes.