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New App Luka Uses Artificial Intelligence to Make Restaurant Recommendations

It's currently only available in SF but will launch in NYC soon.

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There's a new app hoping to change the restaurant recommendation game using artificial intelligence. According to Wired, Luka — an app created by a start-up called 1,000 Plateaus — is a "cross between Yelp and Siri." The app learns users' restaurant preferences and then scans online reviews to recommend places. Unlike using Yelp or Siri, Luka offers up a single recommendation per query, instead of a list. It's also possible to ask the app what dishes diners recommend or whether a place offers vegan or even paleo options.

What sets Luka apart from other virtual assistants like Siri is that the only way to communicate with the app is via text, not voice. This is because Luka is designed to be "conversational." Co-founder Eugenia Kuyda tells Wired that the app is designed to "remember the second or third step of a conversation," not just answer one question and move on. This allows users to step away from the conversation and return later to continue asking about restaurants hours later.

Currently, Luka is only available in San Francisco, but the company is planning to launch in New York City very soon. Soon, a group chat feature will be added to the app so that other diners — in addition to the primary user — may participate in the conversation with Luka as well.Eventually, the company hopes to enable Luka to make reservations at restaurants for users and then 1,000 Plateaus would take "a small fee" for each reservation.

Online reservation site OpenTable has been using a similar fee model for years. There are also number of apps — such as Resy and Table8 — that offer diners hard-to-get reservations at restaurants for a price.