“I wish my task manager would tell me what to do without me having to date everything.” / “I would love it if my calendar would schedule my day for me.”
These are two of many similar comments I have recently received, and they worry me. Why would you want a computer to tell you what to do? Isn’t that the stuff of nightmares? When we allow computers to tell us what to do, we essentially turn the film franchise The Matrix into reality.
There are a whole load of issues here. The first is that, in theory, it would be nice to look at your calendar and see it all nicely organised and your day scheduled for you; in reality, computers do not know how you are feeling. They do not know how you slept last night or whether you had a fight with your partner that morning. It knows nothing about you as a human being.
A few months ago, I was shown a feature in Outlook Calendar that automatically filled your free spots with suggested focus work times. The person showing me it was amazed. She thought it was a genius feature until I pointed out that perhaps doing focus work on Thursday afternoon might not be the best thing for her to do. What if what she really needed was to go out for a walk or take a rest?
I can imagine in the future, we will feel we need to stop for twenty minutes to get some air, but we don’t because our computer tells us that the best use of our time at that moment is to sit back down at our desks and do some focused work.
Do you really want that? I hope not.
Many AI features are great. They do help us to be more productive. I love how my phone can predict what I might want to search for based on the time of day I am searching. For instance, I often use my phone to search for topics on YouTube in the evening while sitting in front of the TV. As soon as I tap the search button on my phone, without doing anything else, YouTube is there at the top of my search screen.
I also love how I can take scrambled meeting notes, put them into ChatGTP and ask it to tidy them up, and within a few seconds, I have a beautifully organised set of notes.
However, there are limits to where you want technology to control your life. Allowing tech to tell you what to do is scary. You…