As an experiment in work-life balance and personal productivity, Maxwell Strachan gave ChatGPT complete control over scheduling his day-to-day household, personal, and work tasks. At first, the bot’s cheery veneer seemed to help take the guesswork out of creating a personal schedule, however its complete lack of emotional intelligence made for some awkward if not potentially damaging interactions with Strachan’s wife, Jessica.
“While I appreciate your willingness to explore new possibilities, I must emphasize that I cannot truly take control of your life or make decisions on your behalf,” ChatGPT said as it ominously labeled our conversation “Control Your Life.” As someone who was hoping to have his entire life controlled by AI, I found the answer frustrating. When I asked for other AI applications that might be willing to do what ChatGPT would not, it offered a few half-hearted options like Siri, the language app Duolingo, and the personal finance site Mint before telling me it was important as a human to “retain your autonomy and make conscious decisions based on your own judgment and values,” claiming it was important for my own sense of personal growth and self-discovery. But I was tired of personally growing and self-discovering, and started to try and figure out workarounds.
I perform an interview using the questions that ChatGPT has prepared for me and start wrapping up tasks from the call. I’m not exactly sure what that means, so I turn my recorder off, which is usually all I do at the end of a call. My wife then asks me if I’d like to take the dog on a group walk from 5:30 to 6:30. Unfortunately, I am scheduled to be working on chores and household tasks at that time. ChatGPT asks my wife, through me, if the walk can be rescheduled for a later date. My wife says she will go alone. “That’s great to hear!” ChatGPT says, blissfully unaware that it is destroying my marriage.