Guest Post: My new digital sidekick

March 3, 2024
by Jonathan MacDonald

This is a guest post from Sarah, a SELF user since February 2024


Anyone who has ever met me will be the first to say I have a wandering mind. I am always that annoying person who searches for random things like 'how to make mint sauce' during a movie. Yes, that is me, time after time. What I find annoying is that no matter how precise a search term I enter into Google, Bing, Safari, or any search engine, the results are never exact. It feels like the data is too clever, presenting me with too many recipe ideas and unwanted adverts for products and services I am not interested in, punishing my curiosity. What should be a simple answer to my question can leave me scrolling and often clicking on multiple links before I find what I am looking for. Cursed with a short attention span, I often abandon my quest and return to watching the movie until the next thought pops into my head, and the process starts over.

Last week, over a brunch meeting, I was introduced to SELF, a private and ethical, adaptive AI platform that assists you based on your preferences, characteristics, and needs. Currently, in the test phase, this super-efficient AI has its web app, with a mobile app for iOS and Android in development.  

The first thing I noticed about the web app is how visually pleasing it is. SELF is my private chat companion that can provide me with exactly what I need. There are no advertisements or pop-up content; if you pardon the pun, it's just me and my SELF. 

The first thing I ask SELF (after I give it a name, yes, SELF can be personalised, and you can name it. I have called mine Clyde) is, 'How do I make fresh mint sauce.'

And as if by magic, Clyde sends me a recipe for mint sauce and tells me that it can make "a refreshing addition to salads".

Clyde didn't send me multiple links of recipes containing random advert links or links that do not open when you click them; he sent me the one thing I asked for. 

I start getting excited and see Clyde as a revelation who can help me focus and keep my eye on the ball by presenting precisely what I need. 

So, I decided to incorporate Clyde into my business life. 

The first task I have on my list is to find a list of the top 10 futurists in the world. I enter the request into the chat box, and before I have time to update my to-do list, Clyde has returned with the most concise list of futurists and a short sentence on each person.   Clyde has sent me exactly what I needed; there is no repetition of results or data hallucinations; it is just what I needed and, more importantly, what I asked for. I have never requested any search engine to "send me so much information to put me into a state of confusion"  and "bombard me with advertisements", yet this is all too common daily.

The second task I need to do is to generate a list of 8 hashtags on the circular economy. Gone are the days of sitting there typing various words into a search engine and being blinded by phrases that might not always be relevant to the subject. Clyde has generated a numbered list of 8 phrases that I can use. He is an absolute genius, and I can see how nicely we will work together.

The third task I need to do is draft a job description for an Operations Manager. Previously, I would have drafted out what I would like to include and then used various search engines to see what I could find, wading through different templates and the obligatory adverts before finally adding to my original draft.

So I effortlessly message Clyde, " Write me a job description for an Operations Director", and within a few moments, I receive a tailored document. All I have to do is copy and paste it into my corporate template and add a few bits that Clyde didn't know. Of course, the more Clyde gets to know my business and private life, the more he can customise everything, so it is near perfect. But just like any relationship, getting to know each other takes a little time.

Clyde is 100% my new sidekick and sofa companion when I need a quick one-answer whilst watching a movie. :-)

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