#AILife: A Morning with Artificial Intelligence

Photo Credit to New York Times

AI is like a modern washing machine.

Nixon: “I want to show you this kitchen. It’s like those of houses in California. See that built-in washing machine?”

Khrushchev: “We have such things.”

Nixon: “What we want to do is make the lives of our housewives easier.”

In 1959, America was showing the Russians its might through the manifestation of new washing machine technology. The advent of tools like dishwashers, InSinkErators, and washing machines once promised “easier lives” for Americans. In reality, these tools just raised the bar. Americans washed clothes more (leading clothes to wear out faster), bought more detergent, and ended up working more in the process. Productivity went up, but so did total work.

Artificial intelligence—AI—is going to do the same for most of us. While it’s hard to predict the fate of any particular occupation (say, truck drivers), most Americans are about to start washing clothes in a machine.

So here’s what a morning with AI might look like, along with some companies that could be involved in that morning. Some of the companies I’ll mention don’t use very advanced algorithms—and others don’t even work yet. But these companies offer a taste of the future.

Here we go:

Last night you set your alarm for about 8 am. I say about because your alarm wakes you during your lightest sleep phase, based on your movements, so you feel most refreshed (Smart Alarm, Research). Maybe it even learns the news that would most likely get you up and reads it to you as you roll out of bed (Capsule).

You hit the gym in your building and a tool tells you exactly what workout would achieve your fitness goals. During your workout, wearables track your movements by analyzing biosignals (Athos, Atlas, Hexoskin, OMSignal). As soon as you head home, you hop on a scale that captures a 3D visualization of your body and analyzes metrics like body fat percentage (Naked).

You hop into the shower and it adjusts to the right temperature based on your temperature, the temperature outside, and previous adjustments (Moen, but with intelligence).

Before you brush your teeth, you take a quick face scan to see what lotion and other skin products to apply considering skin oiliness and weather (Ava). As you realize your toothpaste is nearing its last glob, you’re reminded to order another tube through your shopper (Operator, M, Magic).

This is not happening…

As you head to the kitchen for breakfast, a system of your choice suggests food based on a series of physical signals about you (Sano, Stonecrysus). Maybe AI even cooks a croissant for you (June, PreciBake). An app tied to your electronic medical records suggests you take your Zyrtec, considering the allergy forecast.

Then you head for work in a self-driving car (yours or one from a service to which you subscribed) (Google, Uber, Tesla, Zoox, Comma, Mercedes, and basically everyone’s cousin). Your GPS system tells you exactly how long it will take to get there (Google, Microsoft, Siri).

In the car the screen on your dashboard suggests what you might want to do during the half-hour drive. It remembers your favorite podcast, the people you usually like to call and, if you have something on the calendar at that time, that number. Choose to listen to some indi-beats on your soundcloud (Landr, Accusonus).

After your car drops you off and you make your way to your desk, you open a browser and the first site might be a smart CRM (SalesforceIQ, Velocify, InsideSales, Accompany). It will remind you of any emails and calls that you have outstanding, weighting the importance of the emails by an algorithm that accounts for your usual response time to that individual.

…But narrower tasks, like a Stanford’s self-flying helicopter, are. The autonomous helicopter is an example of a very advanced, but still narrow, application of AI.

Once you select an email to respond to, a template is generated and you are coached to write the best message (Crystal Knows, Respondable, Persado). As you type an email, your browser will inform you of grammar errors at a level beyond any current spell-checkers (Grammarly, After the Deadline) and if your sentence is really really unnecessarily clunky like this one, a tool will help with that too (Hemingway, WordRake). If you’re writing anything of depth, your browser can also suggest better terms and check for plagiarism (PaperRater). Before you send your email, you optimize the “catchiness” of the headline by running it through an analyzer (Headline Analyzer, Touchstone).

As soon as you finish responding to the relevant email, another pops up asking for an appointment. Rather than 30 back-and-forths you copy in your virtual assistant and it does the scheduling for you (X.AI, Clara).

Another email hits your inbox updating you on personal finances. You aren’t ultra wealthy and don’t have a personal money manager, so instead you use an AI-enabled tool (WealthFront, Betterment).

Throughout your email conversation, there have been billions of compute cycles where AI is keeping your company computer safe (Contrast, Cylance, TCell, Status Today, Cyberlytic, Darktrace, Deep Instinct).

This is the point at which all of our days become a bit different. Some of us are doing sales and others slides. Some of us are doing financial modeling and others computer modeling.

Let’s say we are selling and want new potential customers. We go to an AI lead generator for a list (Conversica, Radius, LeadZilla, LeadGenius, Perfect Leads) and plug them into our sales pipeline.

How about recruiting? During your search for that perfect hire you use an AI social graph with all your company’s connections and hundreds of millions of other profiles (Trellis).

Some of us trading commodities want crop forecasts over six months (Aerial Intelligence, Descartes Labs). Maybe you’re a radiologist using AI tools (Viz.ai, Enlitic, Imagia, Zebra Medical Vision). Or perhaps you’re managing shipping containers (ClearMetal). If you’re a developer and you want an intelligent way to search your company’s code repository you might use a search tool (Sourcegraph), or generalized AI algorithms for your own AI brews (SciKit-Lean, Tensor Flow, Viv). Some of us in real estate might want listings before anyone else (Offrs). Or maybe you manage a customer service team (Digital Genius, Unbabel, Wise). Perhaps you’re in legal and you want to check a contract for errors and benchmark it against similar contracts (Legal Robot). Or you manage R&D and your team is considering new compounds (Citrine).

The point is, whatever your field of work, an AI-enabled app can help you move faster. It’s only noon. AI didn’t have you work less, it had you get more done.

Before we know it, AI will be as ubiquitous as computing itself. Or rather, it will be as ubiquitous as toasters, electric stoves, microwaves, washing machines, and all these tools that make specific parts of our lives “easier.”

In the comments below, feel free to add your own examples of how AI will shape the future—and any companies that could be part of that. Thanks for reading.