The future of work begins with an AI handling scheduling & calendaring

Chris AbrahamI‘d like to tell you about Amy Ingram, my robot assistant. I’m pretty excited to have a robot assistant — actually a bouncing baby AI. Since this is a work in progress, I wanted to tell you about both the ups and downs of working with an artificial intelligence, all of which would be completely acceptable were Amy a human person with hours, a bedtime, a personal life, and a family.

Oddly enough, I feel that my Amy currently has all those things because she’s in training and is probably not being allowed to work autonomously yet. Ironically, because she is being guided and moderated, working with Amy is a little frustrating for me since I am not much of a 9-5 guy. My hours and my needs are 24/7, and so working with a robot AI — my Amy Ingram — who has human overseers who have hours, bedtimes, personal lives, and families, can be a little frustrating.

How Amy adds value to my workday

I often get to work at 5 am Eastern and shoot off a dozen requests for Amy to ask for her to help me schedule lots of physical and virtual meetings, phone calls, and the like. Then, if I need to move things around, I’ll make that request early, fire and forget. And then nothing happens until after 9 am, maybe 10, after the fallible human minders straggle in to work in their Manhattan offices with their Starbucks and stories of trains running late or traffic or missed busses — exactly the same reason why I think humans are well past obsolete!

signInSome may call me antisocial, but I’m not, I am just not interested in dealing with other people as flawed and insufficient as I am on a daily basis. I spend hundreds of dollars a month on tools and gizmos and services that paper over all of my structural weak points. And my lovely calendaring AI, Amy Ingram, aka, is supposed to fix at least the scheduling and calendaring part of that, thanks to the gang X.AI.

But, alas, she’s not yet a proper personal assistant, now is she? She currently is a brilliant and lovely semi-automatic scheduler with limitations that I am willing to overlook for now because of the promises she holds and what she will very quickly, hopefully, evolve into. For example, while Amy has access to my Google Apps Calendar, she doesn’t have access to my in-box or my contacts, which is something that a proper assistant would have access to.

progressIn a perfect future, Amy would have full access to all my emails, to my cell phone, to the contact info I use to call them or meet them. To historical meetings and meeting places. To the history of my calls, to the history of the conversations and relationship I have with each person, maybe even access to my Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts so that each meeting can come with a briefing.

Amy needs to know me better than I do

In a perfect world, Amy would know that I want her to send a reminder email to everyone I am scheduled to meet before our calls and our meetings, just for confirmation. In a perfect world, I would love to me able to map Amy to (for a premium, or course) so that my brand is seamless. I would love Amy to understand global time zones and be able to work seamlessly with everyone’s local time in relationship to mine. I would love Amy to lurk in my in-box and make sure I don’t miss meetings, birthdays, and so forth — I would love a morning briefing (sort of like EasilyDo with an Amy Ingram interface).

meetingSlotsI would love to integrate Amy and Alexa on my Amazon Echo so that I can schedule calls and meetings via voice while I’m on my treadmill (“Alexa, please ask Amy to schedule a call with Bob Fine tomorrow to discuss the SOCi blogger outreach campaign”). I am mainly writing this so that I can share it with Dennis Mortensen so that when I interview him and members of the X.AI posse, they’ll know how willing and excited I will actually be to offer Amy Ingram and the community full access to as much of my personal and corporate information as humanely possible as long as it makes my life easy.

For example, a garden-variety personal assistant or executive assistant has access to my credit card info so that I can send presents to my imaginary wife for our imaginary 10-year anniversary or a bottle of rare birth-year Scotch to my best client on his birthday. And, if Alexa and Amy could get lady-married, then I could order, reorder, and gift, and then schedule it up in one place.  When my former business partner was trying to stymie my sweet Amy, he said, “hello Amy, I would love to catch up with Chris. Please have him call me on my cell, the mobile number that he has for me, in his contacts,” which she couldn’t do because she doesn’t (yet) have that sort of access (yet).

prefsI am pretty excited about what Amy and have to offer. One thing that Amy gets right, though, is that I can say things like, “Amy, I can’t meet anyone after 3 on Friday,” or “please block the weekend for meetings but not calls” or “cancel all my meetings for Thursday and reschedule them.”

And, I am told by the team that every time you engage with Amy, she learns. She learns from both doing and experience with me but she also can learn from just email chatting with her and telling her what I want. If I need to stop working on Friday at noon to head to the beach, I can tell her in real language, in natural, written language.

In fact, there are no limitations to the sort of normal human language you can use in order to engage and communicate with Amy, though I have yet to know how much is Amy and how much is the assistance of the Amy’s QA and education team. The next time I discuss Amy Ingram, my robot AI assistant, is after I interview and chat it out with Dennis and his team.

Until then, you should go check it out and sign up for the beta. It took me a million years to get my beta, thanks to getting on the list early thanks to super-duper early-adopter Stever Robbin, but maybe it won’t be too long any longer. Sign up at Abraham is a partner in Contact Chris via email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.

Source: Social Media

Social media is all fun and games … until a blunder, blooper, or breach cripples your company image and drops your CMO to their knees.

Post by Adi Englander

adi-englanderProper etiquette and online security are no laughing matter. Yet it’s amazing how few companies actually know the risks that come with using social media as a business. The truth is all it takes is a split second for disaster to strike.

While the manifestations of these risks come in all shapes and sizes, knowing the three big boogiemen will help you steer clear of danger.

1. Employee Privacy Violation

A disgruntled employee with login access is just the tip of the iceberg. Sometimes an employee can accidentally leak secrets without even knowing it.

For example, a passionate or excited employee might hear about a new project or see a big shot walk into your company and think, “I need to tweet this!” An innocent gesture to get a few likes on their part may result in them inadvertently telling your competitors what you’re up to, or worse, compromising the privacy of your customers.

In a few cases, employees simply do not know what is appropriate to share and what they should avoid. A social-media etiquette policy (signed by each employee and placed on file) can help tremendously with informing employees what’s acceptable and what’s not.

Moreover, because a company can be held legally liable for statements made by their employees, even if they are unaware of the statement being made, such policies are vital.

Protect Yourself: SecureMySocial

Social media policies help minimize the risk of employees violating regulations against disclosing private, confidential or sensitive information. However, policies are only effective if users comply and if businesses can continuously keep track of activities.

Otherwise, policies won’t save you from legal repercussions the moment an employee shares information that can be damaging to your business, your colleagues, or even themselves.

SecureMySocial helps companies by automatically keeping track of user-generated content and warning companies and employees in real-time when problematic material is shared on social media sites. This ensures immediate action or removal.

This helps to give businesses the safety they want without engaging in illegal activities such as asking employees for social media credentials.

2. Reputation Damage

Posts can build your credibility … or suck the life from your online presence. Both are actually risky, here’s why.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Your social-media staff is creative and driven. And those are great qualities. Unfortunately, this can lead to content that might seem funny or timely, but blows up in your company’s face, like the post from Dave & Buster’s below. This happens so often that Gawker has now created a dedicated page to keep track of them all.

Image Credit: Adweek

On the other side, bad intentions just as costly. Posts from the corporate account or from an employee’s personal account attacking your brand can be devastating.

When British entertainment retailer, HMV, decided to lay off 190 employees via mass firing, one employee started live tweeting the activities — directly from the company’s Twitter account. What’s worse, she was the only one with access to the accounts at that time and when her superiors found out what was happening, they had no clue how to stop it.

Protect Yourself: Google Alerts and SocialMention

Luckily for you, there are some free, high-quality tools available for proactive listening online. At the top of the list is Google Alerts, the long trusted tools for getting email or RSS feed alerts when your brand or chosen keywords are mentioned online.

SocialMention is also great for getting an overview of how your brand is perceived online. Plug in a keyword and it returns a stream of mentions, as well as a sentiment score, and a list of the top users of the term. That last insight is great for identifying key influencers.

3. Data Theft

While the focus of this article has mostly been on employees and those within the company, attacks can — and do — come from the outside. Social media is the ultimate playground for hackers and identity thieves. They prey on the vulnerable and the easily swayed to steal passwords and get unauthorized access to accounts.

Smart businesses can stem the likelihood of these intrusions by using social media management tools, like Oktopost, Buffer or Hootsuite, which allow companies to give access to employees and agencies without sharing passwords.

However, with the need for access on multiple devices and some social media platforms (like Instagram and Vine) not offering this function, it can be necessary to share passwords and access with multiple employees.

Most often, it’s these insecure passwords that put companies in a compromising position. By creating simple passwords so that multiple people can remember and use, they make themselves vulnerable to brute force attacks or automated tools and algorithms that continuously guess passwords until the right one is discovered.

Protect Yourself: LastPass and Account Permissions

LastPass is simple. It helps you create random strings of characters to use as strong passwords and manages them in an extension or app so you don’t have to enter them yourself.

If you’re more interested in something that’s easy for you (and your team) to remember, you can use this method from web comic, xckd. (Try using 6 words instead of 4 to make the password even stronger.)

Image Credit: xkcd

Along with setting strong passwords for each of your accounts, remember to continuously keep track of the administrators and account permissions on each account to keep unwanted persons and applications out.


Social media brings great benefits to the businesses, but it can be exceptionally risky if not properly monitored and protected.

You won’t be able to completely prevent employees from accessing your accounts or sharing the wrong information from theirs, but you can guide them along the right path and use tools to catch any missteps as soon as they happen.

Malicious forces from outside will also test your vulnerability and attempt to gain unauthorized access, but in most cases, they will go away once they see you’re not an easy mark.

Adi Englander is a social media expert with a thing for startups and innovation. She has a knack for leveraging various social media platforms and tools to help businesses reach out and engage with their customers.

Source: Social Media

How can agencies tap into technological innovation when the best developers want to work for start-ups or tech companies? We discuss this dilemma with the head of one mid-sized agency that’s put an interesting solution in place.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Source: Social Media2