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Just A Chatbot And You: What Does A Perfect Day Look Like?


It’s such a perfect day, drink Sangria in the park, feed animals in the zoo, and then a movie, too, sings Lou Reed in one of his catchiest songs, from 1972. But what would a perfect day look like in the future? Whom would you drink your summer beverage on the green grass or watch the latest blockbuster with? Are you sure it would be a human? We imagined how a day could go down in the company of the technology that will know you best in the future: an artificial intelligence-based little digital assistant, your very personal chatbot.

Alice, my dear, it’s time to
get up!

The sunshine gently caresses your face as you open your eyes. The soft tunes slowly reach your ears and consciousness when you realise that you are listening to Enya’s classic hit, Only time. You sit up in your bed and cast a glance at the Alexa-like small device that’s smiling at you from the corner of your bed. When the gadget senses that you turned your head to it, it stops the music. It chose Enya from your list of favourite morning songs especially because you matched it with light, summery mornings a year earlier – such as this one.

Morning, Alice, how are you feeling today? I woke you up at 7.37 because you were very tired last night and your activity, sleep, and fitness stats showed me that you need some more rest. But don’t worry, you won’t be late for your 10.25 meeting, and I have already ordered the Uber to pick you up at 9.45. You can cancel it anytime if you feel like biking to work today or if you’d rather take public transport”, chattered the chatbot.

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“Nevertheless, my calculations based on local traffic data, weather forecasts, and your habits show that the optimal route today would be with Uber. This way, you could also get enough time to have a shower and prepare for the day with a healthy breakfast,” said the chitty-chatty device in a tone resembling mostly Alice’s mom. The voice was also adjusted after one time Alice mentioned how much she misses her mom living across the country, in Nashville.

Happy
day flow, smiley face calculated

After Alice wiped her eyes to fully wake up and started to comprehend what the chatbot is telling her, she moved out of bed and took a shower. She asked the gadget to tell her the most relevant pieces of news and switch to an entertaining morning show, although it was almost unnecessary. Before her commands left her lips, the chatbot already calculated that this will be one of her requests – as it is part of her morning routine – and the skillful mechanic creature already calibrated the perfect amount of local, international, and entertaining news for her perfectly adjusted to her taste and interest.

Later on, at the breakfast table, the chatbot offered a selection of some tasty and healthy choices based on her nutrigenomic data, eating, and fitness habits. After months of analysis, it turned out that it’s healthier for Alice not to eat gluten for breakfast, as her stomach would be more in tune with the universe without bread in the early hours, thus the chatbot recommended yoghurt, gluten-free cereals, and some fruits. Alice happily took the choice and she smiled feeling that her day had started off very well. After finishing breakfast, she also took the Uber to the meeting place. Her philosophy in life was mostly ‘go with the flow’ anyway, but with the chatbot’s brilliant advice, she relied on the happy flow more and more often.

Happy
run flow, perfectly timed bank robberies

Alice had an easy-going, light morning, and had
positive thoughts about the day that was unfolding around her. And the chatbot
could even make running better for her. If there was something that she didn’t
like – that was running. Putting one leg after another without a clear purpose
other than the miles taken, this was something out of her universe. However,
the digital assistant played a trick on her and it worked.

Every time she wanted to leave running out of her day, the chatbot would figure out a treasure hunt for her. It was similar to Pokémon Go, and she only needed to put on a Google Glass-like AR device to enjoy running to the fullest. One time she had to collect money from the Pirates of the Caribbean – who started to chase her in the process, another time she was in a team of bank robbers trying to escape with bags of money. Alice never imagined that running could be so much fun.

Of course, for other people, it would have been enough to tell how great the weather is outside for a run, how much better the brain works after a round around the block, and how well the runner performs, but the chatbot was aware that had never worked so far with Alice, that’s why it had to change its strategy.

And Alice didn’t mind it for a minute. She was practically in love with the little digital assistant that could tell perfectly timed jokes, what to eat for breakfast, and what movie to watch based on her recent mood and taste in movies. Seems like the perfect lifestyle, doesn’t it?

What a perfect day, isn’t it?

Since she decided to purchase the digital assistant, her almighty chatbot, she has had the most balanced and most meticulously calculated days in her life. They had the perfect flow, the ideal dynamic, and the most fun activities – combined with obligations – that she could ever wish for. What did she miss then? Why did she feel hiccups of emptiness every now and then?

The answer hit her on a busy afternoon when stress at the workplace and some troubles with her boyfriend let her thoughts wander in the direction of a big, juicy hamburger. She told the chatbot to order one, but the digital assistant pointed out how many calories it contains and what negative effects it could have on her mood and health in the long run. Alice couldn’t care less at that moment. And finally, she understood.

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She lost her freedom of choice or at least was on the verge of totally losing control over her life. Every little step that she made was calculated by a chatbot, every bit and every step she took was controlled by some mechanic creature constantly measuring data and evaluating outcomes. How could she regain her power? What if she wants to break free as Freddy Mercury sings it? How could she step out of the optimised filter bubble that the digital assistant created based on her perceived needs, tastes, and interests? How could she ever go beyond her comfort zone ever again and encounter something radically new if the chatbot closed her up in her own world completely?

Her first thought was to throw the digital assistant out of the window. But should she be so radical? Doesn’t she have a path in-between? And what about us? As the experience of social media and carefully filtered social media surfaces and filter bubbles shows, we might go into this rabbit hole in the long run. But do we really want this to happen? How could we learn to live with technology and enjoy its benefits without losing our humanity, our freedom of choice, and personality in the process?

The post Just A Chatbot And You: What Does A Perfect Day Look Like? appeared first on The Medical Futurist.



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