One of the lovely benefits of emails is that I can leave a message for someone to pick up at their leisure. Phones are a gamble. A ring might interrupt someone’s shower, or nap, or a family argument. No matter how polite my reception, I fear I might be an intruder. Sending an email never makes me feel that way.
Apparently, other people use emails as their preferred form of contact, too. According to an article by Leena Rao, in the business world alone ,108.7 billion emails are sent per day and the number is expected to mushroom to 129.4 billion by 2018. (“Email: Unloved. Unbreakable,” by Leena Rao, Fortune, May, 2015 pg. 56.)
Some people get so many emails, they are developing an aversion to them. Both my publisher and the artistic director of Post5 Theatre, producers of my play Woman on the Scarlet Beast, have asked me to call rather than risk an email getting lost.
Junks mail is part of the problem. For example, as the audience for my blogs grows so have the number of emails. Much of it is spam, and I have only myself to blame. When you reach out to people, people of every persuasion like to reach back. These days, I spend a quarter of my time managing my various email addresses. How am I to sort the chaff from the wheat effectively?
Apparently, artificial intelligence can help. As writer Rao confirms in her article, emails aren’t going away. They’re too vital as a means for staying in touch. Aware of the increasing communication numbers, tech innovators are developing tools to help the consumer sort out the junk and manage the flow. X.ai, a startup company in New York City , is experimenting with a robotic personal assistant, called, Amy. Amy will organize your calendar, schedule appointments and eliminate conflicts. So far, Amy has a 98% percent track record for success. (Ibid pg 56.) As artificial Intelligence improves, a robot may one day be what stands between you and a tsunami of emails. Till then, as Rao observes, “The best way to address the email problem, it seems, is to cut out the human.” (Ibid pg. 56.)
I hadn’t thought of that. But I do know that if I had a robot, I wouldn’t call it Amy. I’d choose names like Robert or Marty, instead.