Will AI save us time?

Published by Amanda on

The explosion of AI, just like the birth of the Internet, is life-changing but will it save us time?

The Internet will continue to grow in popularity until it is as mainstream as the telephone is today.

Bill Gates September 1996 Times Magazine

You may think you have no need for AI as you’re not a writer or no longer have homework or maybe it scares you, but AI should make everyone’s lives better. We know there are advances in medical diagnosis, weather and traffic prediction, financial analysis, image and speech recognition and language translation but it’s the mundane things we take for granted where I think we can really use AI to give us the one thing, we never have enough of … time.

Planning a trip, researching, finding solutions, compiling figures takes time. But now we have help. An AI assistant. Some call it a ‘co-pilot’ (this is the terminology my husband prefers, probably because it sounds more manly) but I like ‘assistant’. 

So how do I use it? After a slight altercation at a local bridge club (story for another day), I had to write a difficult and tactful letter. I didn’t know how to begin, so I used ChatGPT (the free version). I gave my assistant some information and then it quickly (always surprises me how quick it is) produced a letter I could work with.

And that’s the thing. It doesn’t write it for you, but it gave me a starting point and other ideas I could use. Once I had a rough draft, I could then ask Chat to write it in a polite but assertive manner. Then I asked another AI assistant (Word, Google all have them) to check the letter for grammatical and spelling errors, which again it did. Although it didn’t write it for me, it took a fraction of the time it would have done.

So how else has can it save time? I needed help to update my guest bedroom as I wasn’t sure of what colours to use with the furniture I already had. I uploaded photos of the furniture and my assistant produced three designs, suggesting colours, textures and other tips.

A friend of mine doesn’t enjoy writing emails to her children’s secondary school, so she now asks Chat to help her. Another friend had a big trip to plan and used AI to find destinations based on the weather, hotels, flights, excursions, restaurants and local events. It even planned her itinerary. Another friend used it to help with her end-of-year accounts for the tax man and a colleague found a solution to a faulty boiler by inputting a serial number into Chat.

Just to reiterate…AI is an assistant. It is not doing the task for you, but it can help to improve it or reduce the time it takes. To illustrate, I used AI to help me craft and refine this post, resulting in time saved.

Since the last blog (I said I’d let you know how I got on) I have said the words ‘I am a writer’ to not just one but three people, which is a vast improvement on my past track record. And after I eventually got over the mortification in saying the words aloud and talked about my books, it became easier. They always say starting is the hardest thing. (I always say this and yet who are they?) And this is true of writing or starting anything new.

It’s been ten years since I published my first children’s book, Cell Wars. AI didn’t exist, not in the same way it does now, and everything about writing and publishing a book was so much harder. (I’m sure writing twenty years ago was even harder) but now we find ourselves in a world with so many possibilities.

My next task is to rewrite, improve and relaunch the children’s books I wrote ten years ago. I will update the covers, create hardbacks and research new types of editions, e.g. books for dyslexic children, audio. I’m going to create beautiful children’s books which not only educate but entertain (and by saying out loud on here I have to do it now) and I will ask AI to help me.

People are scared of what they don’t understand.

Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas. Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.

Marie Curie (from French translations)

To help you ‘understand more’ here is an interesting podcast which discuss AI and its uses. My homework for the next couple of weeks is to see how I can improve my texts. Your homework is to look at the chores and tasks you have to do regularly and see if there is an AI tool that could help save you precious time. Let me know how you get on!


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