by @Laura Ubelhor
I was pleased to find the topic this month for COMMON Eye on the i was artificial intelligence (AI). Being involved in IT for many years, as a hobby, I’m always researching new technology and continue to see many brilliant minds at force in the world of AI. COMMON members collectively have a lot of potential to impact AI advancements. COMMON provides a platform to learn and collectively pool IT talent. Let’s embrace and race to what can be.
Now let’s imagine sometime in the not so distant future.
This morning I woke up feeling energized. I started my day off with my quick morning run. This helps me to get the recommended exercise for the day. The new generation of Fitbit not only tracks my steps, it also helps with my diet, has verbal reminders, and sends alerts when something is wrong or needs attention.
The Saturday morning sun was shining, and it lifted my spirits. I thought to myself how nice it was that Jenny had cleaned the windows from top to bottom yesterday and they were beaming. After my run, Jenny brought me a piping hot cup of coffee in my favorite mug and a spinach and feta omelet.
Jenny is a robot and I have to say that she does an amazing job, never complains, always does what is asked, and needs very little maintenance. My first thought went to retrieving my to-do list for the day. Alexa was kind enough to remind me of the tasks and activities that I had ambitiously recorded. The list included dusting, cleaning, attacking the big pile of laundry from the week, grocery shopping, choosing and aligning a home caregiver for grandma, shopping for clothes for the upcoming COMMON conference, making hooks for the new pictures in the living room, catching up on emails, preparing a presentation for a Monday morning meeting, picnicking with Diana in the park, catching up on the latest and greatest tech research, picking up the dry cleaning, banking, visiting my dear friend Donna after her big surgery, and attending the theatre with Dawnaree and Amanda to see the latest hit comedy play -Those Weren’t the Days.
After reviewing the list, the first order at hand was to get ready. First stop, the closet. Opening the door and pressing the big button to sync my plans for today and the magic that happens from my wonderful high-tech closet, the best birthday gift that I’d ever received. Not only does it consider the weather and events that I have booked for the day, it also checks my mood and asks questions to gauge my thoughts on an outfit. The closet speaker nicely reminded me that I needed a few changes of clothes for the evening’s activities and overnight stay.
Next, onto the bathroom. Thankfully the closet syncs with Alexa, Jenny, and Peg. Placing myself in front of the mirror on the comfortable chair perch I asked for a makeup and a hair do for the day. Sitting back the “Look Your Best” mate worked her magic. I chose the female model Peg. Peg was as usual patient with me. Peg washed, dried, styled my hair and perfectly applied my makeup. Knowing that I’d be spending the night out Peg also packed all the toiletries that I’d need for my outing and making sure that I took the new antivirus pill everyone is required to take to protect against the latest virus going around. Next, I dressed, putting on the neatly laid out clothes for the day. Jenny and I reviewed the overnight bag that had been prepared and with a few slight adjustments my bag was ready to go. Jenny promptly put the bag in the car.
Now dressed, the next order of business was to move onto the chores. Jenny and I discussed the dusting and cleaning and agreed the house really needed to be cleaned from top to bottom and today would be a great time for doing so since I’d be gone until tomorrow. The laundry was also on the list. There were 3 full baskets from the week. Jenny suggested we change detergents and use a new one since the ingredients had recently been changed on the detergent, we were currently using and contained XYZlophorine that Jenny realized I was allergic to. Jenny is so wonderful I don’t know what we’d do without her.
We next discussed the grocery list. Jenny synced with the fridge and we reviewed the list. We agreed to swap out asparagus for green beans since they were currently in season and readily available at our local market. We also decided to swap out perch for salmon since Paul had mentioned he had a taste for perch.
Approaching 10:00, I moved onto looking for a caregiver for Grandma. Using my VC - virtual computer with voice and visual recognition I pulled up the caregivers that I had previously researched. I had it narrowed down to two. Using voice command, I was easily able to pull Grandma, Mom, and Dad into the conversation. With everyone on hand virtually we were set for the final interviews. We first virtually conversed with the caregiver from “The Friendly Touch” labs. We then conversed with the caregiver from “Better Way of Life.” The prices on both were competitive, ratings were great, and both delivered not only what we asked for but also had a lot of additional services and features including providing a personal touch conversation. Grandma needed a caregiver to be able to stay in her own home. Someone to make sure she takes her medication, help with tasks around the house and alert the family and healthcare providers when – and if – needed. The decision became easy as Grandma, still easing into the thought of a robot as a caregiver,
“I like the second one best,” she said. “She reminds me of my aunt in the way she moves and talks. Let’s go with “Better Way of Life “and let’s name her Susan after my aunt.” With a tap of my finger on the virtual image and entering the name Susan, Grandma was all set to have the help needed by Tuesday. Grandma has been a little apprehensive to embrace technology changes. Now that we have Grandma comfortable using the virtual pc and the robot caregiver taken care of, next on the list will be a driverless car. Grandma misses Grandpa and the old days but seems to be embracing the future to stay in the home she loves. It’s bringing peace of mind to the entire family. Earlier this year when Grandma fell, she pushed a button and an ambulance was sent. Most of the family was waiting at the hospital, picked up by the driverless fambulance. Grandma broke her hip and has since recovered. It’s amazing how well Dr. AI works. The worldwide connection of data accessed and used by the doctor results in amazing results for healthcare.
Next order of business shopping. The COMMON conference event is face to face this time instead of virtual. The event being held in Florida requires clothes fit for warmer weather. Using the VC and choosing my favorite online store, let the shopping begin. The virtual chatbot named Rachel had been assigned as my account manager. Amazing how real Rachel seems. We’ve been working together for some time and it sure has been a joy. Shopping malls have long gone by the wayside, since replaced by virtual shopping. Rachel asked all of the right questions and in no time had several choices to try on and choose from. Standing on virtual eye in the sky dot with the overhead virtual beam allowed for visually seeing how the outfits looked and fit. In a matter of 25 minutes shopping is complete and outfits on there way via drone and scheduled to arrive before my 11:00 departure.
Next, onto making hooks for pictures. Entering the craft room, using the command, lights on and 3D printer on, things were well under way. The chore at hand was to make hooks to hang the new painting for the living room. Clicking the 3D printer monitor and choosing the choice wall hook image, I then loaded the white plastic filament and, in no time, enough hooks were created to hang the new picture. Commanding 3D printer off and lights off with hooks in hand I made my way to living room to hang the new picture. Jenny and I hung the picture perfectly. Jenny’s arm extension capabilities make tasks like hanging a picture a breeze.
Right on schedule and with tasks finished, it’s time to meet Diana for lunch. Mind you there is a bit of distance between Michigan and California. No worries, Jenny set up GPS to get me to the station on time. Jenny also made sure my GM driverless vehicle was charged and bags loaded for this evening. The driverless car is comfortable and very fast. 15 minutes get’s me from home to the downtown Transnational Express depot. In route my VP - virtual phone rang. No longer do we need to carry a clunky mobile device but instead a virtual device that is no larger than a quarter. Today, I’m using my virtual as a necklace and syncing it with my driverless car big screen. It makes for a nice background for the virtual call. One of my volunteer buddies called to ask a quick favor. Jim forgot to arrange food for the student robot club meeting. 60 local kids would be attending and expecting lunch to boot. Waving Jim from the primary virtual phone screen off to the side and asking VP (virtual phone) to find the closest pizza place in the area of the meeting, Jim chimed in with the exact address and in no time enough pizza’s, carbonated fruit drink and chocolate chip cookies were on their way, set to arrive at just the right time. Jim thanked me for the quick action and the call ended as I arrived at the station.
Transnational Express depot was busy, as usual. Transnational Express is also fondly referred to by everyone as the TNE. Lots of hustle and bustle. It’s amazing how the TNE has changed our lives. A few years back it wouldn’t be possible for a lunchtime catch up and meet up on a Saturday afternoon with my sister. In 45 minutes, I’d be arriving in San Diego California. Diana and I both had a lot scheduled today so we decided for a quick lunch in one of our favorite spots on Coronado Island, a picnic by the waterside. The TNE reminds me of the tubes we used to use at local banks when money was still being used. Banking has changed drastically. No more money changing hands. It’s all virtual now and thanks to IBM’s breakthroughs, is secure.
Popping a chill pill, I was ready to board the TNE. Chill pills sure are a big help making TNE trips possible without a visit to the restroom. Simply amazing how AI helped with creating such a thing. Settling into the comfy pod, I’m on my way. Now onto vmails. Emails went by the wayside some time ago. Vmails take up a lot less time. There are so many offerings for Vmail services today. The choice for me is Rackspace since I’ve been using their services including cloud and vmail for so many years and have always had a great experience. What would we do without our cloud? I can’t begin to imagine. It makes our day to day operation possible. In no time flat, Rackspace vmail was done. It’s so easy to verbally respond, save and set timers for attention, search and store what is needed in the cloud. I love the new feature that allows for virtually hearing verbal and visual snippets that are important from previous vmails.
Now, on to preparing the presentation for the Monday morning CEF meeting. The meeting is centered around a study where education focus should be for the future of IT students. It was amazing to see how students found opportunities after the 2020 pandemic. US Factory jobs changed from line jobs to the need for someone to program, operate, and maintain robots. Also, the national defense system turning to space battles. Healthcare boomed with a focus on improvements, most of which involved some sort of AI solution. Also, robotics, Opensource, and AI took off like a rocket ship. All these needs were directly in line for a whole generation of fresh faces ready to find a career with years of experience playing games and in turn learning, understanding and skill development in line for the changing world’s needs. Monday’s meeting is to summarize what we’ve learned over the past several years on how to best prepare students for the current world’s needs. Early introduction to virtual devices, gaming and technology are still proving to be an important factor. With virtual notes on hand, OBS and green screen set up and virtual recording, it was easy to quickly finish my presentation for Monday. Soon to arrive in San Diego there was just enough time to play and edit and place the 15-minute MP99 recording into Monday’s virtual meeting room aligned in the proper time slot. With 5 minutes to arrival time allowed for freshening up my face and a little daydreaming. My daydreams lately often drift to how more people can be helped with technology that is available and affordable. The world sure has changed.
San Diego arrival was right on time at noon. Before stepping out and popping an anti-chill pill I made my way for a quick trip to the restroom. I love that we no longer need to touch a door handle or any knobs to use a public restroom. Something easily remedied with IBM’s visual recognition tools and a whole lot safer for everyone. I’ll admit, some of the changes took a little while to get used to and definitely the new public bathroom works great for everyone. There is comfort in knowing it auto sanitizes from time to time throughout the day. I arrived at the station platform just as Diana’s electric car was pulling up. We hugged and used travel time across the Coronado bridge to catch up. I virtually shared the items purchased from my earlier shopping and some recent photos with Mom, Dad, and other close family. I shared a recorded video from a family dinner last weekend with everyone saying hello. Diana was thrilled and we recorded a hello video for me to share with family in Michigan. We used the VC to order the picnic lunch from our favorite seafood restaurant on Coronado Island. We found a lovely spot in the park on the waterfront.
My VP beeped letting us know lunch was ready. I still chuckle every time I see the deliverybot. They quickly dart toward the ordering party by tracking location through your VP. They are 2 robot legs that take what seems the biggest steps possible with what appears to be a big picnic basket resting above the legs. The deliverybot’s arms appeared, opened the picnic basket, swooped a tablecloth across the picnic table and set a beautiful serving for 2. The lunch went by way too quickly, but sure was nice to spend time face to face with Diana. We completed plans for Mom’s upcoming surprise birthday party. Thankfully Mom had shared her address book with us and once choosing a virtual invite card design with a few swipes’ invites were on the way to everyone in Mom’s family and friends virtual address book. As quickly as it had arrived the deliverybot packed up, cleaned up and just as speedily darted back to where it had come from. Most restaurants have deliverybots for picnics and local area deliveries. Those that don’t outsource them from the Station, a worldwide organization that specializes in drones, bots and robots for rent or hire. With a last hug and love you, it was back to the TNE station.
On the trip back using VP on the pods big screen background was perfect for catching up on the latest in tech. COMMON has plenty of virtual events coming up and local user groups are keeping active with a lot of virtual events. It seems that when there are onsite events periodically, they are a big draw. Even with all the tech advances with virtual opportunity people still enjoy meeting face to face and socializing. IBM is proving to be the leaders in AI and it is easy to spend time visiting the IBM i site to keep current. With a swipe to register and on verbal command, Alexa has added 2 virtual group meetups to my schedule with reminders. New virtual advancements use virtual holograms to present and demonstrate technical solutions. MCPress, IT Jungle and IBM Systems Virtual Magazine offer a lot of cutting-edge technology.
Today, my plan is to research how manufacturing is continuing to evolve. Robotics continues to evolve, as does the products that are consumed. Virtual devices, robots, driverless cars, home AI are staples in every home. 3D printing is advancing to the point that cars, planes, and homes are now being printed. If I have time, I’ll research updates on healthcare advancements as a result of AI. The IBM Healthcare Institute has helped create cures for COVID, Alzheimer, most cancers, diabetes, and much more. Many terrible health threats have been conquered by AI. Everyone is staying healthier with the tools like Fitbit warning if there are any health concerns and helping keep everyone on track to address any health-related issues. Everyone now has a Fitbit or some such device. Most states by law require a personal health device. For those that don’t want to shop or aren’t able to afford there are government issue devices available. The newest fad in tech is party line. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Slack have long since been replaced with the virtual globe community, party line and Fast Trax. LinkedIn is a long-time survivor in the virtual social options. YouTube has also advanced greatly with virtual streaming, advanced virtual touch interface and easy to use voice recognition catalog.
I do my research while enjoying the comforts of the personal TNE pod, which is cozy, comfortable, well equipped with whatever snacks, drinks, and pretty much any other need that may present itself, making the 45-minute commute go quickly. The pods come in different sizes from personal, 2pod, 4pod, 6pod and the largest size 8pod. That is 1, 2, 4, 6 or 8 people in a pod.
Arriving exactly on time, at 3, Alexa reminds me the dry cleaning was ready for pick up, banking needed to be done, and Donna was expecting a visit at the hospital. While in route to the hospital in my driverless electric GM car using my VP, and including Jenny, the arrangements were complete for dry cleaning delivery. Jenny was ready to greet the drone and accept the dry-cleaning package. Next onto banking. The virtual teller from bank of Ubly USA walked me through the dashboard showing all my personal finances. We reviewed a spike in expenditures for robot maintenance and discovered there were hefty increases in maintenance fees for the gardenbot. Note to self and Alexa it’s time to refurbish Ralph the gardenbot. He came used but is sure to be a part of our AI bot family for many years to come with a little attention from time to time. Banking also revealed that we’re on track with budget expenditures for the year and savings goals. It seems that ever since the banks started providing the gold standard and replacing services like bitcoin security, balancing, forecasting, budgeting, and financial analysis has become quite easy to do.
Arriving at the hospital it was easy to slip into the valet circle. Jumping out of the car, my GM driverless vehicle was on its way to the car stack. The car stack is commonly used to provide vehicle parking in a very compact amount of space. Using the car stack, one simply clicks the app on their VP and the vehicle is promptly moved to the stack or retrieved and placed on the outbound valet circle. Heading into the hospital and making a quick stop at the gift shop to buy a lovely bouquet of Donna’s favorite “Daisies” was chosen. Checking out is so easy with the new virtual app. Simply swiping to initiate the app and walking through the checkout ring is all one must do. The ring reads the virtual codes on the items being purchased in this case flowers, a card, an apple, bottle of water and a balloon. The receipt is virtually displayed and simply swiping again the transaction is automatically completed, deducting directly from your bank account. Stores are no longer manned with staff.
Entering the hospital room with gifts in tote brought a big smile to Donna’s face. Donna looked amazingly well. The nursebot that was assisting with exercises, looked up and told me they would be finished in 2 minutes and to take a seat. Once freed up I promptly stood up and gave Donna a big hug. She was doing amazing well after having a knee replacement. The new kneecap was 3D printed to fit perfectly and the model used has proven over and over to be the best made. Since IBM invested so heavily in healthcare technology, many advancements have been made including a knee replacement done by DRbot and requiring minimal down time. Rather than attaching the knee with a metal plate inserted in the chin bone the new knee replacement uses bands that have AI built in by simply inserting the cap the bands automatically stretch, reach out and safely attach to the muscles and ligaments of the knee. Requiring less down time and with much better results. Since we’ve had such great advancements something like a knee surgery is routine. Health advancements have also resulted in much longer life spans. Later in life more parts are replaced, and more frequent check-ups and refurbs are required. Believe it or not we have brain refurbs helping ensure that someone over 120 is able to stay healthy and, using the old slang, “sharp as a tac.” The visit with Donna was great. Donna will be going home the end of the week after finishing her last therapy session. After a nice visit and a hug, I was again on my way. With a virtual click on my VP app heading down from the 21st floor on transporter my car would readily be waiting in the #3 outbound valet circle at the hospitals entrance. Transporters replaced elevators and are an awesome replacement to the old-fashioned elevator.
We chose to stay at the Fisher Grand right next to the Fisher Theatre for convenience. The Grand is a special experience. One of the best equipped hotels to provide visitors with every need and then some. Pulling up, a valetbot opened the car door and promptly retrieved the bags from the car. The car made its way off to the car stack. The roboclerk checked me in and my personal valetbot led me to my room. The valetbot would sit in the bot station inside the room ready for my beck and call. Whether it be to unpack your bags, another pillow, toothpaste, a drink, food, snack, or a quick clean or restock of towels, the bot would be able to help. The valetbots at the Grand have such friendly faces and voices making the experience even better and they are so prompt. I always ask it to UV the room. Some think this is silly, but my thought is better safe than sorry. The extra pass adds comfort that the room is clean and free of germs. Hotels like the Grand have been remodeled so the rooms are placed and sized in the most wonderful way for the visitors. Every room at the Grand uses the space efficiently for comfort and has an awesome city view with the higher floors toting a view of the Detroit River and Canada. Hard to believe I have time for a quick nap. My valetbot Bob was kind enough to pull back the blankets, tuck me in, set an alarm for ½ hour nap and play soothing music of my choosing. Feeling refreshed I jumped out of bed and quickly dressed and had Bob help me touch up my make-up and hair. While getting ready I watched a favorite episode of AI Science explorer. Ready for the theatre I made my way to the hotel transport. A quick virtual shout out told me Dawnaree was already at the venue.
The Fisher Theatre has been around for years and more special and wonderful today than it was the first time, many years ago that I saw my first play there. Amanda and Dawnaree found comfortable seats in the theatre lobby. With a ½ hour before doors open for the play, using a virtual app, we ordered up a glass of wine to sip while chatting. The barbot promptly served up our favorite wine selections. Tipping bots isn’t accepted. Our bot this evening was charming and jovial and made you want to leave a tip. I always have so much fun with Amanda and Dawnaree and this evening was no different. We shared virtual pics, updates on current activities and discussed the play Those Weren’t the Days a comedy pun on how we lived our lives without AI and robots. We joked about what might be included and has gone by the wayside including use of paper and coin money, driver’s license, mobile phones toted around by everyone, lugging around a PC, cleaning our house, washing our clothes and other household chores. We made our way to the theatre and were pleased to have such wonderful seats. The play delivered. The cast was a mix of human actors and starbots. It’s hard to tell the difference and such fun to guess and play the game “bot or not”. Theatres have changed so much and now include a whole different experience. The new seats are so comfortable, and the virtual walls used for groups make the experience seem so personal and cozy. The virtual walls are optional.
Most Broadway shows play at theatres like the Fischer that provide a whole new experience with smell, touch and motion. For example, in Those Weren’t the Days at a mention of carnation corsages the theatre was filled with the smell of the fragrant flower. In the part where the old-fashioned car you drove made its way through the bumpy road with lots of potholes the theatre seats rocked such that it made you feel like you were there. The driverless cars today drive so smoothly no matter the surface that the experience brought back old fashion driving memories. We all agreed not an experience we miss. In the part where Cat was outside without an umbrella light drops touched our faces and arms. Carrying around an umbrella is a thing of the past with the virtual umbrella app. The orchestra was extraordinary this evening. We found they also were a mix of human musicians and musicbots. Thoroughly enjoying the play, we all joined in vibrant conversation buzzing about our experience. We all agreed that we needed to bring our husbands along for another night out. Amanda, being as sharp as she is, found there were tickets available in exactly one month on Saturday night. We giggled as all 3 of us in unison asked Alexa to mark the date on our calendars and to purchase tickets.
We decided to have dinner at one of the hotels restaurants. Feeling upbeat from the show we decided on a spot that would allow for us to catch up, and we were all in the mood for fine dining. Being dressed up a bit for theatre and having a girl’s night out we decided on one featuring a variety of fine dining treats. We asked for a seat with a view in an area we could here the live music without having our conversation disturbed. Our greeterbot promptly displayed the choices that fit our needs. There were 4 tables that fit what we were asking. We were showed to our table and promptly greeted by our waiter Tommy. Tommy politely pulled out our chairs and filled our water glasses. The menu displayed from the middle of the table. Weird how the 3D menus can be seen from any seat at the table. It is really like a 360 degree CAD image. Handing out a compressed paper menu to each person is long gone. Dawnaree asked to zoom the menu and we laughed and teased that she needed lense floats to improve her vision. The virtual menu when asked displays a life size virtual image of the dish being questioned and creates the smell of the dish. The menu also synced with personal reviews of what you liked and did not like from eating experiences and makes recommendations upon request. Finishing the dining survey at the end of the meal takes but a minute or two. Amazing how it makes for 99% of the time being very happy with what you’ve ordered. Tommy came back and everyone ordered. Restaurants are so efficient now that it seems no sooner than you order, and your food is on its way to your table. After a thoroughly wonderful dining experience and such wonderful company we were all ready to call it a night. Before saying goodbye, we all confirmed our plans with Alexa for our next get together in Rochester and then we were off to our rooms.
Quite a day. Packed full, and not possible without all the AI, robotics, and tech that we take for granted. When I returned to my room Bob was there waiting. He opened the door and had already laid out my nightgown. My Fitbit kindly reminded after the evening treat a little extra exercise was due tomorrow and to take my vitamins. I quickly washed up and was tucked into bed. Today was full and so much fun. I was able to finish all of the necessary tasks, align a caregiver for grandma, make hooks with my 3D printer, hang the new living room picture, shop for clothes for the COMMON AI event in Florida, order food for the robot club meeting, catch up on vmails, prep for meeting, have lunch in California, arrange for dry cleaning delivery, banking, visit Donna at the hospital, theatre and a lovely dinner with lovely friends. Bob set the alarm and with that I was off to dreamland thinking about the tech research that I’d done earlier in the day and what the future might be like. AI certainly changes so many things in my lifetime it is sure to change the future.
The next morning, I returned home and was promptly greeted by Jenny who took my bags to unpack. I arrived to a clean house, clothes washed and tucked away, dry cleaning delivered and away, and grocery shopping done and in the fridge. Gizzmo my beloved dog was so happy to see me he couldn’t get to my side for pets quick enough. His tail was wagging so quickly that I thought he would propel. Jenny informed me he ate well, they even squeezed in a little walk around the neighborhood which resulted in the need for a bath. Gizzmo doesn’t seem to mind when Jenny administers a bath. I was anxiously waiting for Paul to return from his business trip. He would be here shortly. With so much done on Saturday today we planned to hit the park with Gizzmo, watch a movie on the outdoor patio virtual cinema and Jenny agreed to prepare the perch Paul was looking forward to. Our plans included having friends for dinner. Jenny would set the table and be ready for company and dinner at 5 pm, pack the cooler and other goods in preparation for an evening pontoon boat ride. Pontoon boats can now be driverless, though sometimes Paul still likes to switch to manual mode and claims it’s relaxing and fun. Our day to day life sure has changed quickly as a result of AI.
I hope you enjoyed the imagined glimpse into what might be through AI. Many of the imaginary AI changes aren’t so far fetched and certainly are possible. In fact, many are already in the works. Hopefully, your interest was peaked, and you have gained even more enthusiasm for AI. So where do you continue the adventure? How do you make it happen? What tools can be used? Where do you start? A great answer to these questions is COMMON. COMMON is offering an early May virtual event featuring over 150 sessions. COMMON also is planning for fall onsite events. Many of the sessions include technology, skills, learning, and information on AI. IBM’s site is loaded with all kinds of AI information including videos, free downloads, coding competitions “Call for Code” and much more. We’ve all been impacted by the current pandemic. AI likely will have a big impact on how we prepare, safeguard, manufacture needed goods, organize supply chain, coordinate national and international efforts, utilize virtual tools, provide healthcare, find solutions, raise awareness and much more. Jump on board. Utilize your IT skills. Let’s embrace and race to what can be.