I was listening to the latest Pivot Podcast when Kara Swisher played a clip from Sam Altman‘s keynote at OpenAI’s Developers Day, earlier this week. Spake Sam (at the 35:18 mark),

We believe that AI will be about individual empowerment and agency on a scale we’ve never seen before

Whoa! That’s what we’ve been working toward here at ProjectVRM since 2006.

Shall we call it IEASWNSB? (Pronounced “Eewasnib,” perhaps?) We might have better luck with that than we’ve had with VRM, Me2B, and other initialisms and acronyms.

For fun, I asked Bing Image Create, which uses OpenAI’s DALL-E to produce images, to make art with its boss’s words. It gave me the images above. Here’s the link.

Those are a little too Ayn Randy for me. So I tried just “Empowered individuals,” and got this

—which is almost the ulta-woke opposite of the first one.

But never mind that. Let’s talk about individual empowerment with AI help. Here’s my personal punch list:

  1. Health. Make sense of all my health data. Suck it in from every medical care provider I’ve ever had, and help me make decisions bases on it. Also help me share it on an as-needed basis with my current providers.
  2. Finances. Pull in and help me make sense of my holdings, obligations, recurring payments, incomes, whatever. Match my orders and shipments from Amazon and other retailers with the cryptic entries (always in ALL CAPS) on my credit card bills. I want to run every receipt I collect through a scanner that does OCR for my AI, which will know what receipt is for what, where it goes in the books it helps me keep, and yearly helps me work through my taxes. The list can go on.
  3. Property. What have I got? I want to point my phone camera at everything that a good AI can possibly recognize, and make sense of all that too. Know all the books on my shelves by reading their spines. Know my furniture, the stuff in my basement. Help me keep records of my car’s history after I give it the VIN number I photographed under the windshield, and run all the records I’ve kept in the glove box through the same scanner I mentioned above. Whatever. Why not?
  4. Correspondence. I have half a million emails here, going back to 1995. (Wish it went back farther.) Lots of texts too, in lots of systems. Help me do a better job of looking back though those than my various clients do. Help me cross-reference those with events I attended and other stuff I may be relevant to some current inquiry.
  5. Contacts. Who do I have in my various directories? How many entries are wrong in one way or another? Go through and correct them, AI helper, based on whatever clever new algorithm works for that.
  6. Calendar. Tell me where I was on a given day, what I was doing, and who I was with. Knowing all that other personal data (above) will help too.
  7. Business relationships. Look into all my subscriptions and help me fight the fuckery behind nearly all of them. Make better sense of all the loyalty programs I’m involved with, and help me unfuck those too, since most of them are about entrapment rather than real loyalty.
  8. Other involvements. What associations do I belong to? How deeply am I involved with any or all of them? Can we drop some? Add some? Have some insights into how those are going, or should go?
  9. Travel. I have 1.6 million miles with United Airlines alone. Where did I go? When? Why ? What did I pay? Are there ways to improve my relationships with airlines and other entities (e.g. car rental agencies, Uber/Lyft, AirBnB, cruise lines)?

Our lives are packed with too much data for our mere human minds alone to fully comprehend and put to use. AI is perfect for that. So bring it on.

And don’t bet that any of the bigs, including OpenAI, to give you anything on the punch list above*. They’re too big, too centralized, too stuck in a mainframe paradigm. They look for what only they can do for you, rather than what you can do for yourself—or do better with your own damn AI.

Personal AI today is where personal computing was fifty years ago. We don’t yet have the Apple II, the Osborne, the TRS-80, the Commodore PET, much less the IBM  PC or the Macintosh. We just have big companies with big everything,  with hooks for developers. And soon an app store (also announced in Sam Altman’s keynote).

Real personal AI is a huge greenfield. Going there is also, to switch metaphors, a blue ocean strategy. Wrote about that here.

*Except by pouring all that data into their LLM. Not yours.