Afterlife Bots – A Dead Man’s Petition

No, neither am I a Ted-famous Tech geek spiritual guru nor am I in contact with the afterlife. I am just fascinated by the buzzwords “Machine Learning” and “AI” and a little overwhelmed by the number of articles mentioning those words on my news feed.

I remember reading a line in a news article that “Bots are getting better at imitating humans”. Why not hire one and decrease workload by 50%. Well, I suppose we are working towards it.

Google recently announced that their AI-enabled assistant (with 6 voices) can book a hair-cut appointment seamlessly (Well I want a shave as well, and I want it to go and do grocery shopping handpicking the freshest tomatoes from the lot).

Jokes apart: kudos to the team of brilliant scientists, engineers, and others who are working day and night to make this happen.

Coming back to my original story.

Let’s start with Human life (and relationships) – Data Gathering

“Quite a digital world”. We are capturing and storing our personal life events as much as we can digitally (Thanks to social media, external hard disks, and pen-drives). Why not store our entire life in a 1000 Petabyte storage device. Capture every second – actions, events, habits, decisions, etc. Imagine if we can see and experience our parents’ childhood or see “What all Mahatma Gandhi did in his entire life”. Interesting right?

We all know how quickly robotics, machine learning, and AI are evolving.

What if we combine robotics, machine learning, and human life data? Can we create a human replica bot which would respond similarly, make decisions similarly, have similar habits basis the 1000 Petabyte data fed. All in all, can that bot be my replacement after my death?. Can it be my AFTER-LIFE BOT?

Literally, nothing can replace a dead human being. I was not fortunate to see my grandfather or meet him. But will my great grand/grandkids know about me? The answer is I do not know. We all are striving hard to leave a legacy behind us. Why not use robots and machine intelligence to duplicate ourselves. We do have ample amount of data to feed ~79 years (average age of human being) or ~2 Billion moments. Don’t you want your great grandkids to remember you after you are gone?

With a simple Google search, I got a news article mentioning “Mind Clone” – the idea of uploading the memories, thoughts, and feelings of a person into a computer. It mentions that the companies such as eterni.me, Gordon Bell’s MyLifeBits, and Terasem’s Lifenaut are all pursuing Mind Clone to help a person’s personality, work and relationships survive after death.

E-Communication Mania

It’s approximately 2pm on a Sunday and I have probably sent 50 e-messages today. This includes social media messages, text messaging and email. In comparison to other people, that is more than likely a very low number. Yet, it made me think about the high percentage of communication that is conducted electronically.

Instant Response Gratification

If I need to connect with a friend my preferred method of contact is always text. Calling is such a bother and once you get into a conversation the entire process is prolonged. Who has time for that? Plus, I usually get an instant response. Perfect. Sounds cold but this is true for most people. We talk when we meet – hopefully. None of us want to be one of those people constantly consulting their phone when meeting with friends or worse clients!

For business, my first choice is always email. Less of an instant response but the percentage is high that a response will be provided quickly. This is a bit more stressful because instant response gratification has become somewhat of a norm.

Social media is another good resource for “instant response gratification”. A post from a personal account almost always gets an instant like from someone. A post from a business account is hit or miss but it is more of a supplementary communication tool so it’s forgivable.

Still Writing Letters, but Watch your Etiquette!

Okay so now that we have established that e-communication is hot, how do we apply that favorably in order to streamline our work but avoid becoming robotic and impersonal? Everyone likes to get immediate feedback. Customers and candidates do not want to wait for an answer. That is the plus to communicating electronically. Everyone always seems to be available. The drawback is that it can lead to some confusion and lack of clarity. The positive is that it can lead to less confusion and more clarity. Huh?

Let’s break this apart. With the steady stream of messages, especially emails, many messages are missed just because everyone is dealing with high volume or they read between the lines of what is sent. The other caveat is that you always have to be careful of what you put in writing.

Everyone is not especially talented in the written word and how you communicate is always an indication of your professionalism or lack of. Grammar, spelling, and content should always be checked for correctness. In this hurried world, which is why we are communicating in this way to begin with, some of the basic rules of written communication are often violated.

It’s interesting because in days of old everyone wrote letters. Today we are back to writing letters it is simply that the delivery is much quicker. That being said, written communication is nothing new. The rules have not changed.

Have you ever sent an email to someone that should not have been on the recipient list because you mis-keyed and accidentally included them? This has happened to most of us and it’s not something that we are proud of. Apologies are usually in order but once the “send” button is pressed there is not much that can be done.

It is the same story with attachments. How many times has this happened? You boast a litany of reasons why the recipients need to check out the document as soon as possible only to have someone send you that dreaded message, “No attachment”. Ughh. Painful every time! Always attach before writing your message to help avoid this issue.

The problem with all electronic communication is that you cannot take it back, just like that letter or card you popped into the mailbox. That is why it is very important that you do some planning with every message that you write. Yes, every message. Even your personal Facebook® posts can have an impact on your business life.

Rules for Social Posts

What are some simple rules for social posts? Never post something that you would not be okay with “everyone” seeing. That includes your mom, your boss, your work colleagues, customers, etc. Everything is open game today. You may even be connected with some of your customers on your personal social media platforms. Pretty much it never goes away and there is opportunity for anyone to view. BCWYP – Be Careful What You Post!

Also be careful of what you share on social media. Some people share posts without even reading them. Read what you are sharing before you post to make sure it represents you and your company well. You would not want to share something that is not part of your belief and passion, therefore reading everything first is essential.

Although every company should have a written document on social media posting and make it clear to employees what is okay to post, some companies are lacking in this area. If you are unaware of what the posting policy is for your company, do not post on behalf of your company. It is very important that you are informed on what your company allows you to post when you are representing your company on social media or otherwise.

Keep it Beneficial and Interesting!

It is very plausible and even necessary to text and email with customers and candidates regularly. If you are not doing this you are missing out on a huge relationship-building medium. Keeping in touch electronically to make customers and candidates aware of opportunities and information that could benefit them is crucial. It is important to allow them to “opt out” and if they do, you should not message them again without first receiving permission.

With e-communication, keep people informed about your company and your products, but don’t overkill with a bunch of boring messages that are saying the same thing. Also, remember your social media and email etiquette. Don’t hound people that connect with you with constant and intrusive sales messages unless you want to be disconnected.

Contemplating Installing a WLAN? Welcome!

Let me start off by saying up front, this is NOT an ad for any particular device or company. I’m merely setting down my experiences and making some general recommendations. My first attempt at standing up a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) was just so I could have access to the Internet from anywhere in my three story townhouse. I hooked up my cable modem to a directional wireless router, and adjusted the antennae so that I had adequate coverage on all floors.

Then I made sure the LAN was secure by assigning a strong password to the router’s encryption feature. All went well. I could go anywhere I pleased in our home and access the Internet. Over time, I populated each floor with a smattering of various PCs, conveniently located so I could log in whenever the whim hit me. My family also liked the convenience of being able to reach the Internet with whatever portable device they happened to hold. Just for convenience, I placed a wireless printer on each floor and linked it to the WLAN. Everything was going on smoothly.

But one glaring problem was that I was still using each PC locally, and sharing files between computers was a nightmare.

Then I heard about the Western Digital’s “MyCloud”. Quick like a bunny, I bought a 2 Gb “MyCloud,” apprehensively attached it to my router via its Ethernet port and then linked it to each of my remote computers as a separate drive.

What a rush! This is amazing! Now I have remote access to all of my projects and files from anywhere in my house! I’m a believer!

When you’re setting up your home WLAN, you might also want to consider adding a Western Digital’s “MyCloud” or similar remote Wireless server as a remotely, fully controlled information repository. Linked to your home network, and behind your router’s firewall, it’s the perfect place to put all of your important (and in my case, almost all) files. Accessible from any place in your house, through any device connected to your LAN, it’s a perfect way to share information and to have access to that information.

Before I invested in my MyCloud, I had to remember on which machine I had saved files locally, Now, I can log in from any of my machines, and have immediate access.

You may find that some other company’s product fits your lifestyle better than Western Digital. That’s OK. The whole gist of my advice is to have you consider a remote data and information serve that is under your total control.

Now, I’m not completely paranoid about “Cloud Servers” that sit external to your router’s firewall, they do have their place, but I do abhor paying a fee to access my own personally created files.