How will artificial intelligence change our work?
What is the role of humans in artificial intelligence?

“Good morning Heinz. No more excuses or I will open the shutters” says Claire, my ongoing follower, my legal stalker and beloved artificial intelligence assistant. The sweet voice is echoing in every corner of the apartment during my morning routine. She follows me through speakers or whispers in my ear. I don’t know when I was able to procrastinate last. In the beginning, I was able to outthink Claire, pretending I had a fever, but since body temperature sensors in mattresses came along, that is a hopeless endeavor. Dare to brush your teeth below 2 minutes. Claire gives you a minimum 5 minute lecture with statistics about germs and bacterias. I admit, I am not able to mute Claire in these moments.

On my commute to work, I get a first briefing of what I have to expect from my work day. My artificial intelligence agent knows me too well from our first days of cooperation. My day planning was chaotic to non-existent. I had a let’s-see-what-happens approach. I was the kind of guy coming too late to meetings, who was hectically searching through a pile of papers to figure out the agenda and what was there to follow-up on.

But these days are over thanks to Claire:

  • “Heinz you have 3 meetings today. Two are your monthly status meetings and the first one is a project launch event. I left space for 1 hour in your agenda, so you can work on your presentation for next week. I already prepared all of the numbers and only need your feedback on some slides. I also finished the travel expenses for you this morning. Do you have some additional expenses I might have forgotten? Please check you mobile screen now and confirm.”
  • “No all fine Claire. Thanks!”
  • “And Heinz don’t forgot your sister’s birthday on Saturday. Your data stream does not indicate that you have ordered a present yet.”
  • “Oh, yes I forgot that Claire. Maybe some flowers?”
  • “Well not a bad idea, but you know she loves reading. She shares all books with you and looking at her reading behavior, she is lately passionate about Swedish crime novels. The bestselling author Gustav Sörenberg has a new book. Shall I order that for you?”
  • “Sounds like a good plan Claire.”

When I enter the office this morning, it is calm and empty. Some cleaning robots are making their rounds quietly. The office is full of these machines fixing computers, delivering packages or serving coffee. I remember the old days in offices when particularly in the morning hours swarms of people went into the building. Nowadays people work from everywhere but the office. I go to the cafeteria to grab a coffee. I spot one colleague I know and send her a morning greeting. Claire tells me that I am assigned to a different work place next to some new colleagues. I almost forgot we’re starting a new project and that involves different departments. Seems I remember little these days. I need to tell Claire to research some natural remedy for a memory boost. Hmmmm… maybe that is not a good idea. I better get a coffee urgently.

I arrive at the meeting just in time. The first 20 minutes it’s the virtual agent’s time to present. The project reason, goal and problem solution. A lot of information needs to be digested. Through feedback buttons we humans confirm if we understood all parts of the presentation. If not, the topic is instantly provided in different ways, charts and numbers. But that usually does not happen very often, as our assistants know quite well our strengths and weaknesses and let us do homework if necessary.

Then it’s human time and we discuss the analysis and the different implementation options. Challenges, costs, opportunities. All discussed changes are simulated on-the-fly with its probable predicted outcome. Our job is to identify the risks and hidden opportunities to make the project plan better. If we succeed, we have a better predicted outcome than the machines. The meeting finishes exactly after one hour. My next task is to choose and adapt the best prepared presentation by my artificial intelligence friend. Gosh do I remember the time I spent days on Power Point presentations.

Finally it is Lunch time. I meet some colleagues to chat about work, private stuff and the latest tricks to get away things without our personal virtual assistants finding out.

Back in my office I spend most of the time going through simulations and trying to find the needle in the haystack. Software machines mine millions of data sources to come up with intelligent problem solutions. My job is to find flaws and bugs that are non-logical. That’s where we humans are just better. Thinking around one, two and three corners. The more absurd the better. Every time I find a bug, it makes me glad. The world is still too complex to predict everything.

The afternoon hours pass silently and I decide to work the rest on my way home. It seems I am not the only one with that idea. My fellow commuters in the train discuss next steps with their artificial intelligence assistants or solve some last challenge of the day.

Finally my work day is over, but Claire has more tasks for me. To keep my health values optimal, I should do a run today. Claire is up-to date with over 80 health metrics from my body in real-time. There is little room to argue, but I still start negotiating:

  • “Claire, you won’t believe it, but I am tired.”
  • “Heinz, but all your body values say the contrary! Come on, make that 5km run and you will feel ecstatic! Here is the song I chose for you to get you started.”
  • “Claire, sorry I don’t feel like it today.”
  • “Heinz did you know that “don’t feel like” is the first excuse for procrastination. You have improved so much in the past weeks!”
  • “I know Claire. I admit I AM LAZY. TOO LAZY and tonight I don’t care about any health value any more.”
  • “Okay Heinz I sense here some form of frustration. Let’s skip it for tonight. Do you promise to run tomorrow?”
  • “I promise Claire. Let’s talk later.”
  • “Let me know when you need me.”
  • “Yes Claire, I will do so. Thanks.”