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To Become a Cyborg, You Have to Give Up Some of Your Humanity.

A WIP peak into a deep dive on Mindful Automation.

As part of trying to write every day, I’m going to try WIP Wednesdays to talk a bit about a project that I’m in the middle of.

I’ve quietly been working on a group coaching project which I’m calling VIP and which does a deep dive on a new topic every four weeks.

We’re getting ready for topic #4, Mindful Automation.

Automation is a total nerd dream that I’ve had forever: What if I had an army of robots working to do all the junk that I don’t want to do myself?

The world hasn’t completely caught on to that dream yet, but it’s come pretty close.

A lot of the module development is about finding what’s ready for prime time and giving people easy ways to get started with automating their life.

That’s the obvious and easy part of the module.

The hard part about the module is that every single automation triggered a philosophical discussion on the team.

One of the best quotes: “Are we promoting mindlessness?”

Let me start you walking down a path of automating your online presence.

I’m starting to lean toward “social media is poison for the brain” while also pragmatically in the camp of “the world will forget about me if I’m not visible on social media.”

Given that — social media like Twitter and Facebook is the perfect place for automation.

I’ve already used IFTTT to automate the posting of interesting RSS feeds directly to my Twitter account. Now I’m on social media even when I’m on my bike.

IFTTT is acting as an agent on my behalf. No crime yet. (And I’m healthier for spending less time on Twitter.)

But how do you feel about receiving birthday wishes from me on Facebook? Well, I’m testing a different sort of bot, Birthday Buddy.

It’s wished happy birthday to two different people, even managing to get the person’s name right:

What do you think of this level of automation? It’s creepy, right?

I tend to take a cyborg view of what’s coming. The robot that posted Happy Birthday is part of my new cyborg person. So it wasn’t a separate entity posting the message, rather, it was an improved and extended version of myself.

Crazy? Well, I know that. So I want to know what you think. Here’s a poll (did you even know you could add polls to a Medium post?):

It turns out that every area of automation has some gotcha.

For example, you’d probably consider automated bill pay to be the gold standard of automation. It saves you time and, more importantly, from late fees.

But it also promotes mindless spending. If a bill gets too large, you’re at risk for not noticing. Or maybe you’ll keep getting billed for a service you’ve stopped using. In that case, is this automation valuable?

There’s an easy solution, although many people won’t think of it: setup your bank to text or email you when a bill gets paid. That way you keep the automation and save the mindfulness.

Topics with grey areas are exactly why I love working with a group. The promise of an army of online robotic agents doing your bidding is immense. But the best practices aren’t yet defined, and the gotchas are numerous.

What do you think? Do you have any big automation wins or losses?

P.S. didn’t mean this as an advertisement, but if you need to know, here’s the link to the VIP group. Mindful Automation starts on Sunday, and there’s a promo code if you follow the link.

Human potential busy body. Founded @coachdotme, @bttrHumans, @bttrMarketing. Helped @medium @calm. Current work focus: Habit Coach Certification.

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