nate, the AI Shopping Assistant

This new app makes checkout faster, without compromising your privacy

For many existing in 2020, the days of physically going somewhere to purchase a product feel like ancient history, and the ability to have items delivered safely to your door has become critical. While plenty of online purveyors offer two-day or even same-day delivery, the purchasing process itself hasn’t changed or evolved as quickly. Checkout is often clunky, non-intuitive, confusing or simply has too many steps. A new app called nate aims to simplify that process, acting as a digital assistant for everyday purchases.

The app integrates into your phone to make checkout on any site as simple as tapping one button. Additionally, nate makes it easy to save items, share your favorite products and curate lists.

Algorithms exist in almost every facet of our lives, but the process is completely robotic. Without a human element to it, we are still at the mercy of machine-learning, and more often than not those insights aren’t exactly accurate. nate founder Albert Saniger himself was tired of companies re-ordering his social feeds and serving him irrelevant ads. “I don’t really care what an algorithm thinks I should buy,” he tells us. “I want to be inspired by other humans, not machines. And when it’s time to buy, I want to stay in flow and keep going with my day instead of worrying about where my credit card is, or whether I have an account with that store, or whether the website is easy to navigate on my phone.”

Saniger says, “People don’t want another checkout method,” but a “single, universal solution for all purchases.” He believes that delegating the execution of tasks to micro-agents is the next wave of intelligent automation for consumers, while also freeing up some of their time and mental space. nate is a reflection of this.

Of course, protecting users’ privacy is paramount. With nate, people’s credit card details are never used to checkout—rather, they issue virtual cards to protect information and to remove one of the layers that companies and financial institutions use to track people’s behavior. He founded nate with a core principle: data belongs to people, not companies.

The name nate is also the result of plenty of thought. Digital assistants are given traditionally women’s names (best-known examples being Alexa and Siri), but Saniger wanted to create something different. “We capitalize people’s names, because they’re human. nate is lowercase. We assign pronouns to people, because they’re human. But nate’s pronouns are it/its. The name nate having masculine associations is not us subscribing to any binary, because machines don’t have gender; it’s us trying to tilt the scale a little.” 

Images courtesy of nate