Artificial Intelligence and Automation of Life

That automated guy

There is that story going around about the mythical guy who automated everything with his job. He was a coder and went to extreme levels of automation. This even went to the point of an automated email message being sent to his wife if he was still hooked into his terminal at work at a certain time of the day. He added a made up excuse to go with it too. I suppose the message said something like he was going to be a little bit late for whatever reason. I hope the automation also included a countdown timer to kick him off his work computer and tell him to go home. The automation should also include a call to the mobility company so a car would be waiting for him to get into the train station or bus stop. Maybe he had a car which performed autonomous driving to the point of pulling up in front of the offices ready for him to jump in. The car would drive him home and send another more up-to-date email to say exactly what time he would be home. He did all of this to avoid work and do other stuff instead. Probably played computer games.

A robot thinking

That Guy…

He wrote a script that waits 17 seconds, then hacks into the coffee machine and orders it to start brewing a latte. The script tells the machine to wait another 24 seconds before pouring the latte into a cup, the exact time it takes to walk from the guy’s desk to the coffee machine.
And his coworkers didn’t even know the coffee machine was on the network and hackable.

If there wasn’t a significant other waiting for him at home there should be automation to have the house at the right temperature for his arrival. As the car arrives to your house a geolocation trigger would turn on all your lights ready for when you walk inside. The music system could be playing your favourite music. Or the television could be ready to go with a playlist of a movie or a TV series episode or two ready to go. There would be a food delivery ordered, or the food in the microwave would be cooked to perfection five minutes after his arrival back at the house. Enough time to change into something more comfortable and settle in. A certain amount of planning would have to go into this. He’d have to have the food ready in the microwave. He would have to give himself reminders before leaving for work to do that. Or he’d have a slow cooker which was possible to turn on at a specific time. If the time of return was difficult to nail down then you’d need to at least have a way of remote control for the cooker. Thank goodness for the internet of things. There will manual steps to make all of this happen for some time to come. Who knows for the future?

That Guy again

The guy wrote one script that sends a text message “late at work” to his wife and “automatically picks reasons” from a preset list of them, describes Narkoz. It sent this text anytime there was activity with his login on the company’s computer servers after 9 p.m.

How automated can you go?

If you want everything to be automated you would need to have a fairly structured life. Or you’d need an automation system in place which took into account the possibility of your changing your mind on things during the day. There are all sorts of things which can put a spoke into the works. Perhaps there is an accident on the road going home and the detour means you’re 15 or 20 minutes late. How will the automated cooking arrangements take into account any delays. Perhaps a friend or a member of family turns up unannounced. Will there be sufficient leeway in your automated system to allow for such eventualities?

Is the automation going to be deep automation which uses artificial intelligence or machine learning to do your bidding during the day in the most efficient way possible? Or can we only expect automation to take place where we use manual triggers to set things in motion. In this scenario we press a button or say a phrase to the voice activated assistant to get things into motion. Perhaps what we really need is to have a combination of levels of automation. Some aspects of our life could be the artificial intelligence reacting to actual triggers. Some of it could be where the machine learns you like to do a specific thing at a specific time. It has things put in place ready for you to do or to use. Another possibility would be for our computers to prompt us and ask us questions. “Hello computer user, at this time of day on a Friday you like to do this. Confirm by saying yes if you want to go ahead?”

Programming in random possibilities into our lives

We don’t want to turn into a robot ourselves. We don’t want to be a controlled by a strict timetable which doesn’t allow for serendipity. What about if we were to tell the automation to throw in the occasional curveball. Make life less boring. Our intelligent artificial assistant could helpfully suggest something out of the ordinary. It could go on the basis of getting us to do something we’ve never really considered. Or it could recommend something based on what other users of a similar type have chosen to do. He could be as simple as recommending a tasty dish to choose in a restaurant. It could be as drastic as coaxing us to go and do a parachute jump and get some exhilaration into our lives.

Connected lives and systems

There’s going to come a time when elements of automated personal transport will all talk to each other. You will jump into your car and say where you want to go to and the car will take you there. As the car drives along the road it will let other vehicles know of its presence so it can just slot in to the flow of traffic. As it gets to the junction just simply pull out and go on its merry way. The gap in the traffic where it was is closed up so the traffic is moving along the roadway in the most efficient way possible.

Alas, Poor Yorik…

In the same way that traffic worked, the interaction of people could be similar. Your personalised artificial assistant will keep you productive at work. It could also recommend downtime. This could be a gentle reminder to go and visit your old mum if you haven’t seen her for a while. In order to keep your mental health on track it might even suggest you’ve been working too hard. The system would tell you it’s time to go watch a movie or go and socialise. Perhaps it could even set up a blind date for you if you’re getting too wound up in life and you really need to go and get laid. Funny if the AI brings the two people together for the blind date and doesn’t let on what’s going on and you think it is just kismet.

Everybody is different with individual needs

There are some things about life which are universal. The need to feel a sense of belonging and being a part of a group. This is alongside other basics such as the need for shelter, warmth and food. Surely much of this could be automated and optimised. Optimised based upon the needs of the individual as well as optimisation for the external influences. Influences such as the ability of society and the earth to provide. It’s true to say algorithms are already influencing our lives. Mostly this is down to advertising and what is being offered to us by large corporations. Would you like one of these, your friends have shown interest or bought items such as this. Will you put in your order and buy one? We keep getting nudges to get us to do things.

The nanny state and legislation

What if the nanny state decides what’s best for you in terms of diet. Would you be happy to let machine learning and your personal artificial assistant decides your menu for the week. We already have chosen to use things like the Apple Watch which will recommend we’ve been sitting down for too long and it tells us to stand up. It gives us nudges and encouragement to do a minimum amount of exercise and burning of calories during the day. How how far could such a system go? Can we trust algorithms and technology to know what’s best for us? There could come a time when the rebels are the excessively fat people. There will always be the person who chooses to have the extra two or three donuts and chooses not to do any exercise either. Can an artificial intelligence cope with all the randomness of people? Will people just more and more annoyed at an overbearing machine learning system which supposedly has our best interests at heart. It kind of depends on who controls the controller. Or will the machine learn from the worst of humanity instead of the best of humanity.

How will the future look?

I’d like to be optimistic and expect technology to bring benefits to the lives of all humans around the world. Human society varies so much from the really bad to the really good. Will algorithms mash a wide rainbow of life and living into a boring grey uniformity? Let’s see what happens.