So. Who the heck is Amy Ingram?
She’s awesome. She’s organized. She really knows me (mostly because I told her all about me).
Most of all, she’s….not REAL. Don’t hold that against her, it certainly doesn’t inhibit her productivity.
Here’s the background. I was given the opportunity to beta test x.ai’s offering last week. x.ai leverages artificial intelligence (thus, the ai) to help you organize your calendar in a much more efficient way. Like many others, I spend WAY too much time trying to coordinate meetings with people, as we all have so many meetings and calls on our calendars, finding common free time to conduct business (or whatever) usually involves an indeterminate volley of emails, phone calls, and texts- and sometimes even the unfortunate gaze at the calendar on the phone while driving. Not good.
X.ai presents Amy Ingram (initials…ai) as what READS like a real person via email. She’s actually an intelligent agent that has access to my calendar (google for now, others to come), so she can tell when I’m busy. Since I run on Office365, the challenge was to get Amy the required visibility to my calendar, which I achieved by one-way syncing my O365 calendar with a newly-created Google Calendar (using a separate tool I will NOT endorse, it gets the job done but yikes). More importantly, the agent knows what buffers I need around calls and meetings, where I live, where my offices are, and where I prefer to meet for coffee or lunch.
When I want to get a meeting or call set up, I simply email Amy and the person I want to set the meeting with, and ask for it. In plain english. I don’t give a time, I just say “Amy, please find 30 minutes for Dennis and I to talk via phone”. I can say this in many different ways, Amy has understood every permutation I’ve thrown at her. And that’s IT. Amy will email Dennis and give him three different possible times, and he can respond in plain english as well, Amy understands the context. For instance, if Amy provided three different days to Dennis, he can just reply with “I’ll take Tuesday.” Amy will know WHICH Tuesday and the times she said I could have the call. After that, we both get the invite from Amy. If Amy were human, the emails, responses, and results would be the same.
What’s even better is when I need to set up a meeting with 3 or more people- Amy does ALL of the work for me. No frustrating discussions of when he’s free, when she’s free, and “oh someone booked me so now I’m not free”… Amy handles ALL of the back-forth-back-forth again. I can ask for a status update any time I like, and she’ll respond with what she’s working on, who she’s waiting for responses from, and what she’s gotten done recently.
If I cancel a meeting, she’ll send an email to the invitees telling them that she “wanted to let them know that the meeting needed to be cancelled”. That’s more than I usually get when someone cancels on me.
I’ve demonstrated this to a few of my colleagues, with one universal response: Envy. So, that’s sort of a mission accomplished, right?
I’ve noticed that sometimes it does take some time for Amy to get things done, but I attribute that to the “beta” tag on the solution. So far, Amy has been 100% accurate and all of the people that have received emails from Amy working out schedules have responded in ways Amy understands (which is basically English!).
This technology has LEGS, even beyond the individual executive looking to optimize their time. I can see this being expanded for use by project managers who have to cat-herd 10 people onto a project con call- just IMAGINE the cost savings across the board for a PMO. PMs in my company spend hours coordinating calls on a daily basis. Telemarketers who set up meetings can make more calls and reach more people if they no longer have to coordinate the dates and times.
Further, as the Intelligent Agent evolves, it’s not hard to imagine Amy making the lunch reservations for your meeting as well, buying the tickets for the sports event, booking your flight for that conference, or even adding information into your expense management application since she has all the meeting data already. The sky is the limit with this. AND, it already WORKS.
Kudos to the x.ai team. I’m truly looking forward to further advancements with this technology. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy this beta as long as I can!
Keep an eye on these guys, they’ve got something very right here.