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Unless versus fighter pilots CEO Sander Nagtegaal explains how a DARPA project inspired Unless.

Unless versus fighter pilots

Video transcript

Hi, my name is Sander Nagtegaal, CEO at Unless is a personalization platform for websites. In this video, I will be sharing with you how we got the idea for Unless in the first place.

A few years ago, we heard about this great DARPA project. DARPA stands for "Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency". It is basically the sciency part of the American military. This particular project started in 2001 and was initially called “the augmented cognition program”. Its goal was to improve the decision-making of fighter pilots under difficult situations.

So, how did this work? In the program, American fighter pilots were physically hooked up to their onboard computers. Then, during a mission, this computer would adapt its messaging depending on the "cognitive state" of the pilot. Essentially brain activity, stress levels and a few other things. So, in very dangerous war situations, the computer would be more directive. Or, if the situation allowed for it, the computer would leave more decisions up to the pilot.

This resulted in much better decision-making, However, the project itself suffered from problems with the human-machine interface. But now, fifty years later, we have machine learning, natural language processing and artificial intelligence. So, we reckoned that we could apply the same principles to websites. If we can make websites communicate differently, based on the state of mind of their individual visitors, we can increase the attention span, improve the understanding and finally improve the decision-making of people on the internet.

And that's where we are going with Unless. If you would like to know more, sign up at for free.

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