While artificial intelligence has been the talk of technology as of late, it has been hard to see it being practically implemented in our lives. However, whether you know it or not, artificial intelligence is slowly creeping in. You can even have an artificially intelligent virtual assistant.
I’ve written about AI for many years now and have gotten to see some incredible advancements along the way. There was even a time when I have feared my job as a writer would soon be taken over by AI. Artificially intelligent programs are already out there writing news articles and stock updates, and you’re probably reading them on a daily basis. The fact is, AI is at a point right now that in text communication that humans can’t tell the difference.
That brings me here, after I stumbled upon a program that will act as your own personal virtual assistant. I was setting up a meeting with someone and he replied with a request and a CC in his email. He said, “Amy, could you set up a meeting for Trevor and I sometime next week? Thanks!” This email was fairly cordial and didn’t have any weird formatting at all. It was an email to his assistant – or so I thought. Within 5 minutes I got an email that looked something like this:
Happy to find a time for you and [Person].
Does Monday at 9:00 AM CST work? Alternatively, [Person] is available Monday at 2:00 PM CST or Tuesday at 11:00 AM.
What’s the best number for [Person] to call?
Reading this I had no thoughts that I wasn’t talking to another living person. In fact, I thought that Amy was one of the most helpful assistants I had ever talked to as she supplied me with ample meeting times that would surely work with my schedule. I replied:
Monday at 9:00 AM works well. He can call my cell at [Phone Number].
All was well in Trevor’s world. I had just set up a meeting for next week with no hiccups. Then I noticed something. At the bottom of the email was this signature:
Amy | Personal Assistant to [Person]
x.ai – artificial intelligence that schedules meetings
WHAT. I read the signature and my mind began to expand with thoughts that I had just been betrayed but also thoughts of sheer amazement. You mean I wasn’t talking to a real person? You may think I’m being sensationalistic, but wait until you set up a meeting with an artificially intelligent being, it’s creepy man.
So I dug in and started researching. At first I thought there was no way this was that simple, but, sure enough, Amy was a virtual assistant program designed to help people schedule meetings. All that is necessary is to CC Amy in an email and ask her to set up a time to meet within a given time period.
This is one of the most practical applications of AI I had ever seen. While it admittedly is a fairly simple task (no offense to all the brilliant secretaries out there), it was amazing to think that the AI was so good. I wouldn’t have known were it not for a small email signature.
I write this not communicate to you some incredible AI assistant, but rather to say that AI is in your life already. You may not even realize that your client’s assistant you have been conversing with is just some code running scripts. This is just the beginning.