For years, authors like David Allen and Tim Ferriss have researched and written about productivity. But judging from the high tech trends in the field, the best efficiency practices are yet to be discovered.
That's because productivity is on the brink of transformation via Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), according to Colin Lewis, who provides consulting services in automation, robotics and Artificial Intelligence. In a recent blog post on Harvard Business Review, Lewis looked at the research and development trends among big tech companies and concluded that it's only a matter of time before virtual assistants start to revamp your daily routine.
A.I.'s best-know productivity application is Apple's voice-activated assistant, Siri. The technology originally came from a public-private partnership, which aimed to develop a software program that teaches itself by "observing and learning from the past, acting in the present and anticipating the future," Lewis said. Apple acquired the project's spinoff private company -- called SIRI Inc. -- in 2010. It wasn't too long after that Google acknowledged the technology was a real competitive threat, Lewis said.
In his 2013 book, The New Digital Age, Executive Chairman of Google Eric Schmidt wrote:
These systems will free us of many small burdens, including errands to do list and assorted monitoring tasks -- that today add stress and chip away at our mental focus throughout the day. By relying on these integrated systems, which will encompass both the professional and the personal sides of our lives, we’ll be able to use our time more effectively each day.
Just last month, Google CEO Larry Page further acknowledged his company's efforts to pursue A.I. for the sake of increased productivity at the TED 2014 conference. There he explained the rationale for Google's recent acquisition of DeepMind, a company that develops learning algorithms. When given the right information, DeepMind's technology can teach itself to play games with "superhuman performance," Page said.
"Imagine if this kind of intelligence was thrown at your schedule," he mused.
According to Lewis, Apple and Google aren't the only companies aiming to develop the ultimate productivity tools. IMB and Intel have also spent hundreds of million of dollars in A.I. research and on patent applications.
"All of which suggests that today’s breakthroughs in A.I. are tomorrow’s breakthroughs in productivity," Lewis concluded.