Know Your Code
By: C.J. Cantwell


Every so often an app comes along that really makes you think. This one makes you think, “Why did they make that?” Founder Jian-Yang tells me it’s because investor Erlich Bachman is a “dumb man with dumb ideas.” In any case, “Not Hotdog” uses advanced machine learning to tell you if the food you’re eating is a hotdog. I took it for a test spin just to find out how well it can do that.

The interface proved intuitive and easy to use (thankfully, can you imagine if an app like this wasn’t intuitive?): just snap a picture and wait for the machine learning to tell you what you’re looking at.  Here we go:

basic hotdog

I also tried some “Not Hotdog” foods and the technology appeared to hold up:

pizza popcorn

Trying to think of a time when this could actually be useful, I imagined myself at some sort of barbecue buffet where I didn’t want to pick up an item without knowing if it was a hotdog. What could thwart me from my hotdog dreams? Maybe a busy barbecue chef would get a little laissez-faire with the buns? Could my app help me in a pinch?

hotdog in a hamburger bun

It seems it could. It was at this point when I reflected on Jian-Yang’s past success and current wealth, and wondered: Is this actually dumb? Perhaps Jian-Yang is rich for a reason. I for one will be keeping an eye on the Not Hotdog space. And for those of you who are wondering if you are in fact eating a hot dog, the app is available for free here.

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