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A.I. Is About to Erase the World As We Know It

Surface Media’s CEO on the frictionless future.

What if you never had to type anything into a device ever again? We have front-row seats to this very foundation being built. Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, Apple’s Home Pod, Sonos speakers (certain models of which have built-in mics), Apple TV, Chrome, and Nest, as well as phones, laptops, and wireless headphones—as these platforms and devices continue to build the largest content library ever, basically recording everything we do, and build algorithms based on that data, the end result will be a truly A.I. world, where the machines will always be one step ahead of us.

Because of this, regardless of what business you’re in, you must radically change everything about it—and fast—so that all aspects are frictionless. Audio interface matched with A.I. will be the most impactful form of operating equipment. Our hands will be free, keyboards practically extinct.

Here’s an example of the near future (and by near, I don’t mean years, I mean months): It’s a busy day in New York City, you’re having a lunch meeting downtown, and you have a 2 p.m. appointment in Midtown. Instead of reaching for your phone toward the end of the meal and losing your focus, your A.I. assistant steps in. It knows where your next meeting is via a calendar sync, checks for the best traffic route, determines the appropriate time to request an Uber, and flashes a signal to you when you have to wrap up to meet the car outside.

Okay, that’s simple.

Let’s consider a more complicated illustration: You’re traveling from New York to Paris and land jet-lagged. Your A.I. assistant determines baggage-system wait time, has a car waiting out front—when and where it needs to be—and messages your hotel to let the front desk know approximately when you’ll be arriving. The hotel knows your travel plans in advance and allocates the right room type for your sleep based on your circadian rhythms. Your A.I. assistant also allocates time in your calendar for your workout—not necessarily when you would choose to, but when it’s best for you, considering your travel itinerary and performance goals. It knows the exact meal you should consume to get your system back in check, accounting for your current conditions. It plans your meetings around when you need the most attention and organizes your day accordingly. All this without having to type anything into your phone.

In order for all of this to occur, you need to submit your privacy to the A.I. gods—and you will. Why? Because A.I. will give us back the one thing we can’t buy or make: time. In the very near future, we will move into a more efficient and controlled environment. What this will require is a system of completely frictionless networks. Identify any part of your business that involves friction, take a hard look at it, and start breaking it down. If you can’t imagine how, pack it up. You have no shot of survival in this new frontier.

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