Smart Scheduling and AI scheduling assistants: An extension of digital assistants

Smart Scheduling needs to be a thing. And by that I mean - AI-based (or: machine-learning-based) semi-automated scheduling assistants. It requires some giving in to the notion of letting an algorithm control a dimension of your life. But what you out of it is relief from the stress of scheduling.

It would work best in a context where the transactions of scheduling (the negotiation of time, the creation of some textual artifact of agreement, etc.) are conducted between algorithms at both ends. That said, the alternative where the transactions are conducted between human and algorithm can be supported by an interactive virtual agent (IVA) beefed up with some conversational, possibly verbal, capabilitiies. Hello, this is Anand Bhardwaj's digital assistant speaking. Is this is a good time to talk?

And the scheduling assistant can be plugged into other aspects of your lives. I have a pretty neatly organized calendar, organized into work (school, in my case), family, my wife's work calendar, and her cycle. Mine's on the Apple ecosystem so its on my laptop and my phone. A cloud-based assistant could use that information to negotiate scheduling, and more stressfully, rescheduling, with organizations, governmental bodies, or individuals, or their assistants. All the while keeping my specified preferences in mind. Go dark between Christmas and New Years. No meetings before 8:30AM on days I have to drop my kid off at daycare. Prioritize A in A-B/C/All/None calendar conflicts. Reminders go silent during classes or meetings. Imagine not having to worry about scheduling an appointment to get a drivers licence renewed, have an annual medical check-up or vaccination, get your teeth cleaned, get time with a beautician before your anniversary, etc. 

Using systems of these assistants could profoundly transform work as well. Imagine a modern hospital in Montreal where head of nursing's scheduling assistant knows that since the patient in 5 only speaks english, its preferred if all shifts had at least one bilingual or anglophone nurse.  Or large construction sites where managers have only the right workers onsite at the right time during the construction. Or mercifully shorter wait times in all the places where wait times are without mercy.

Finally, its important to consider the human cost of any form of automation. In this case, I think the impact is minimal. Most of us dont have assistants. For those of us that have assistants, I hardly think that scheduling is the only or even a significant component of what they do. So in no way should their jobs be affected by this. 

More to follow after reading some of what already exists on the subject.