How chatbots can help you be a better version of yourself

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Chatbots are proving to be incredibly useful for relatively simple tasks such as finding and retrieving information.

While this is all well and good, it’s mostly first-level stuff.

Michael Schrage, a research fellow at MIT Sloan School’s Center for Digital Business, envisions a much more inspiring, valuable and value-creating role for chatbots powered by artificial intelligence and workplace data and analytics.

Writing in Harvard Business Review, Schrage predicts that tomorrow’s “most effective executives will merge and marry workplace data and analytics to digitally design more-productive versions of themselves. Those digital ‘selves’ will shape how work gets done.”

Schrage is talking about much more than enterprise executives using chatbots and data to be more efficient. He’s suggesting that chatbots will get to “know” you to the point that they can help you leverage strengths and offset weaknesses, almost as an insightful life/career coach:

“Selvesware” will deliver actionable, data-driven insight and advice on what to say, when to speak up, and with whom to network, for example, suggesting bespoke options for better communication, collaboration, and facilitation. Selvesware invites workers and managers to digitally amplify their talents and attributes, while monitoring and minimizing weaknesses. Simply put, selvesware helps people identify, manage, and measurably improve their best, most productive selves.

It sounds weird, relying on input from a chatbot about how to word an email, say, or what to say to inspire a project team to work together effectively. But we already use voice-powered digital assistants to give us directions and provide basic information (about weather, etc.). Why not use AI- and data-driven chatbots (or “selvesware”) for guidance in the workplace, especially if that guidance is within the context of your personal and professional strengths, weaknesses and objectives?

“If software servants like Siri get augmented or supplanted with selvesware, executives and employees alike could be empowered to craft high-performance variants of themselves — selves that are measurably smarter, bolder, more creative, more persuasive, and/or more empathic than their ‘typical’ or ‘average’ (in other words, actual) physical selves,” Schrage writes.

For enterprises, the prospect of making all employees more effective and productive has to be enticing. And with the exception of narcissists, who wouldn’t want to be a better version of themselves?


Chat bots and mobile: The perfect match?

Workforce of the future: Are you planning for robots in your team?



  1. […] Aspekten – gerade auch dem Thema Data Privacy – gewidmet. Nun habe ich über das Blog von Chris Nerney diesen Beitrag von Michael Schrage auf Harvard Business Review gefunden. Er stösst eine neue Tür […]

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