June 20, 2023
The AI Assistant Opportunity
It's impossible to overstate the implications and opportunities artificial intelligence presents to society as a whole. Its potential for profound impact rivals all transformative periods in history, and will fundamentally shift how we navigate our daily lives. But unlike previous technological advancements, AI is uniquely poised to automate cognitive tasks, not merely physical ones, and will fundamentally redefine how we live and work. Marc Andreessen says AI will save the world, and while hyperbolic, he’s correct.
The Future of Work
The modern-day workplace is complex and challenging. The time spent each day focusing on work-related tasks has steadily increased, as employees struggle to juggle all of their professional and personal responsibilities. This has led to increased periods of sustained stress, significant context-shifting, and a constant need to be “online,” which is negatively impacting employees’ mental and physical well-being.
At the same time, leaders are contending with remote work challenges, ineffective time management, and ensuring their staff are not overworking themselves, which can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and increased turnover.
The root cause of all these issues lies in the constant erosion of our most limited resource — time.
Despite our best efforts to prioritize tasks and responsibilities, we often operate without a comprehensive understanding of how our personal priorities align with collective objectives. Furthermore, our current time management tools were designed to allocate empty time slots rather than prioritize what truly matters.
AI promises to redefine this, plus the rest of our work tools and methodologies. It will be embedded in every tool we use, and in many cases, it will be invisible. However, as we've already seen with the exponential growth of ChatGPT, we're now entering a new era where AI-powered assistants will increasingly assist us with a diverse range of tasks.
Yet, we'll unlikely rely solely on a single, general-purpose AI assistant. Instead, we will likely have an ensemble of them, each tailored for a specific function.
Crafting Digital Companions
At Mayday, our goal is to reimagine how people manage their time, and the relationship they have with their calendars. But to accomplish that, we can’t build just another calendar. Instead, we’ve set out to create a new kind of AI assistant that replaces your calendar with something that learns, adapts, and fits into your unique lifestyle — one that isn’t purely focused on productivity gains, but also considers the nuanced factors that ensure everyone’s schedule always aligns with their priorities.
With each new release of Mayday, we’ve been building the underlying technology to make this possible, most recently with the release of AI-Scheduled Tasks. We’ve also been building a GPT-based chat interface directly in Mayday, allowing for more advanced and nuanced interactions with the assistant.
The combination of these technologies unlocks tremendous potential, and I wanted to delve a bit deeper into what we're building and share 4 ways Mayday's AI assistant will fit into our everyday lives, and the practical value it will bring to each of us.
1. Enhance Productivity and Time Management:
Productivity is more than just a measure of output — it's about prioritizing and managing your time effectively. A proficient assistant understands the ebbs and flows of your productivity, helping prioritize tasks, and optimizing your schedule. It should minimize distractions and context shifting, ensuring you maintain focus and accomplish more. It's not about cramming more into your day, but about smartly organizing your schedule for optimal efficiency and results.
Consider a busy day when an unexpected yet important meeting invite lands in your inbox. The meeting conflicts with your existing schedule. An adept assistant will quickly evaluate your schedule and the meeting's importance, rescheduling lower-priority tasks or shifting meetings as necessary. It will ensure adequate preparation time before the important meeting and adjust your schedule accordingly, taking care of the details while you stay focused on your tasks.
2. Automate the Mundane:
A great assistant has a robust understanding of your ideal week and can automate the routine tasks that can disrupt your workflow or consume cognitive energy. It will eliminate the need to micromanage your schedule, allowing you to divert that time and energy toward more meaningful endeavours.
It's common to have a list of to-dos that keep getting pushed because your day is filled with meetings or interruptions. Your assistant should automatically block out time in your schedule for these tasks, ensuring that you have dedicated time to focus on them. But if a higher-priority meeting is scheduled, it can swiftly reassess and reschedule these tasks without you needing to manually adjust your day, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks.
3. Protect Personal Well-being:
Personal well-being can't be an afterthought; it's a necessity. The best assistants ensure you never lose sight of this, and will protect your personal time amidst professional commitments. They account for downtime so you can regroup, ensure time for exercise, and even track health metrics to maintain balance.
Consider a day when your calendar is already full of meetings, and you're asked to add another. A thoughtful assistant wouldn't just squeeze the additional meeting into your only free slot, potentially leaving you without time for lunch. Instead, it will evaluate your current schedule, recognize the need for a break, and might suggest a time after you've had a chance to recharge. We call this Empathetic Productivity, as we strive to build technology that also considers your personal well-being in addition to your output.
4. Improve Decision-Making:
Informed decisions are the best decisions. A valuable assistant equips you with analytical insights about your schedule and work habits, allowing you to make smarter choices and develop better work routines. It provides objective feedback, helping you to reassess, adapt, and improve continually.
Let's say you're wondering if you're allocating your time effectively across your various commitments. Leveraging its understanding of your schedule over the past few months, your assistant can visualize your time distribution across different categories (using Smart Tags, of course). This might reveal that your time spent in meetings has indeed increased significantly, perhaps at the expense of dedicated work or personal time. The assistant can then alert you to this trend, offering to help rebalance your schedule by prioritizing blocks of focus time or downtime.
Directing the Future
As we integrate several AI Assistants into our lives, learning to collaborate effectively with them will become a new skill we must all develop. This shift will recast us as "directors," overseeing a team of assistants personalized to cater to our unique needs.
These advancements will soon allow everyone to fully automate the mundane tasks that saturate much of our time. They will provide insights which will improve our decision-making, and optimize how we spend our time. They will significantly enhance productivity, freeing up time for pursuits of greater significance, and fostering personal and professional growth.
The best AI scheduling assistant will be more than a productivity tool. It will be a personal assistant and executive coach rolled into one. One that understands you, adapts to you, and works with you, helping you achieve Schedule/Priority Fit. And as this technology progresses, we stand to unearth insights that can elevate us as individuals and as a global community, forging a brighter and more fulfilling future for all.
If this proves correct, the transformative potential of AI assistants will usher in a new era of personal productivity and fulfillment. This isn't merely about enhancing individual lives or improving business efficiency; it's about unlocking untapped human potential on a global scale. By maximizing our productivity, we can fast-track solutions to pressing global issues, pioneer innovative products and services, and elevate the collective human experience.
Or one might say, it will even save the world.