This article was originally published to Business2Community on July 9, 2018.
Recruit these AI assistants to help you escape from pointless work. Future you will thank you.
For many of us, an unfortunate amount of our time is spent on a thousand little tasks that support the truly meaningful work we do, but those thousand menial tasks aren’t meaningful themselves. Hours wasted sending emails, replying to emails, booking meetings, attending meetings, reporting on meetings, sending project updates, submitting tickets…you get the idea.
Often these tasks are referred to as metawork, or in other words, work about work (just like metadata is data about data). While metawork is a necessary evil of accomplishing our higher goals, it doesn’t necessarily need to be done by you. We now have artificial intelligence assistants that can do all of that menial stuff instead – often times better than us.
The great escape from metawork
Here’s a list of 10 ready-to-recruit AI assistants that can liberate your time and let you breathe in the sweet satisfaction of focusing on meaningful work instead.
1. Cortana by Microsoft
What can it do: Automatically convert emails into tasks and reminders.
If you’re one of the 145 million people with a Windows 10 machine, you already have an AI assistant ready to help you. Cortana’s best productivity trick is to turn stuff mentioned in your inbox into tasks and reminders. Cortana can also do the legwork in scheduling meetings with team members. If you integrate it with Office 365, you can also ask Cortana to copy/paste text from one document to another without having to hunt for the doc yourself.
2. Hendrix.ai by TestfireLabs
What can it do: Transcribe & archive meeting summaries and action items into one easily searchable dashboard.
Meetings are crucial to any successful organization, but professionals can’t keep everything straight if accurate meeting notes or action items aren’t taken or circulated. Hendrix.ai is an AI assistant that transcribes your meeting minutes, captures action items, and collects your entire meeting history in one place, so you can focus on the meeting at hand, not the notes you’re scrambling to write down.
3. Alexa for Business by Amazon
What can it do: Alexa brings the same tech you use in your kitchen to help in the office.
Just like at home, Alexa for Business uses small speakers throughout the office that listen for voice commands to take care of simple tasks like ordering supplies or submitting support tickets. Businesses can create custom Skills for Alexa to do things like connect it to your in-house data to answer questions like “what are our daily sales across all stores?” Or create Skills that prep you for your meeting by dialing into a conference call, turning on the projector, and loading up a presentation.
4. Edison Assistant by Edison
What can it do: Move your mess of tasks and notifications into one streamlined list.
Edison accesses your calendar, email, location and social media accounts. It then processes them through 43 automated features to bring the most important daily tasks, reminders and actions into a single app. It can remove out-dated and duplicate contacts while also reminding you of birthdays from Facebook. You can even automate texts to send when you leave work.
5. Amy/Andrew by X.ai
What can it do: CC Amy on your email to schedule meetings automatically.
X.ai’s AI assistant, Amy Ingram (or Andrew if you prefer a male assistant), uses machine learning and nature language processing to read your email, scan your calendar and book meetings for you. Simply CC Amy in your email and it will propose available times, then handle the inevitable back and forth to find a time that works for everyone. When Amy’s done, it schedules the meeting right into your calendar.
6. Clara by Clara Labs
What can it do: Clara books interviews and phone calls for you.
Like Amy, Clara also connects with your calendar to schedule appointments on your behalf, but focuses more on people for whom interviews and phone calls are the job, like HR professionals. Once you CC it on your email, Clara takes over the conversation to book the appointment, as well as send reminders to confirm attendance and find available conference rooms.
7. Duplex by Google
What can it do: Avoid the hassle of scheduling appointments and let Duplex do it for you.
Duplex phones businesses for you to book appointments or make reservations. Saving five minutes on a phone call won’t start a productivity revolution, but if you’re constantly booking appointments, it adds up. Plus, imagine asking Duplex to book an appointment with that hard-to-reach medical specialist – set it and forget it.
8. Mezi by Mez Mobile
What can it do: Learns your tastes to find travel options it knows you’ll love.
Mezi researches flights and hotels based on how you answer a few questions through the app’s chat bot. It uses machine learning to adapt to your travel preferences, then cuts through the overwhelming number options to suggest a few preferred choices. It even books your flight, hotels and checks in for you. If you’re responsible for booking travel in the office, there’s a dashboard that can be used to manage multiple travelers.
9. Restless Bandit by Restless Bandit, Inc
What can it do: Find great candidates for a job and let them know you’re hiring.
Restless Bandit’s AI has been trained by over 120 million job postings and 30 million resumes to find good matches between candidates and openings. A job board shows the posting to everyone—qualified or not. Restless Bandit finds only qualified applicants and serves them the job posting through targeted email and ads in Google and Facebook. It can also retarget people who previously applied for similar jobs.
10. EyeEm by EyeEm GmbH
What can it do: Tags and scores your photo library to bring your best photos to the surface.
EyeEm is an app that scans your phone’s photo library to tag your images automatically, then analyzes the composition and balance of a photo to create an aesthetics ranking. EyeEm has an SDK that businesses can run on their own library of images to tag and rank them. It not only saves time organizing gigabits of old photos, but it also provides feedback on the quality of your shots to help you improve your photography.
How much metawork can you free up?
Over the course of a month, these few daily and monthly tasks can add up to hours of metawork. Consider how much time you could potentially save using this group of AI assistants, and imagine the freedom you’d feel getting even half of those hours back!
Make these new AI helpers part of your crew, and it’ll pays dividends in the long run.