When you picture a personal assistant, you probably envision a celebrity — or at least someone very wealthy — walking around with a “shadow” who takes her messages, makes her travel plans, helps her pick out the perfect outfit, and eliminates other daily tasks from her lengthy to-do list.
If you’ve ever wished you could have a personal assistant of your own, then you’re in luck. Personal assistants are quickly becoming accessible to the masses — thanks to AI and other emerging tech. In fact, technology really has been an equalizer when it comes to providing everyday people access to personal concierge services.
Besides Siri or Google on your smartphone, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home may be some of the first digital “personal” assistants that come to mind. These devices do research for you by allowing you to ask for details about a topic; they play the music you want to hear and movies you want to watch; and you can even pull up the directions you need to navigate to your favorite places — all with a simple verbal request.
AI can provide you with a digital assistant, and a slew of emerging tech options can also put you in touch with a real human personal assistant for specific needs. If you ever find yourself wishing you had someone to help you handle life’s routine and not-so-routine tasks, there may an accessible option out there.
Here are just a few ways you can leverage AI and tech to put a personal assistant within your reach:
Use a personal assistant to make moving hassle-free.
Moving is typically one of life’s more stressful events. It’s a time when you likely crave the seeming luxury of a personal assistant who could coordinate your move so you can focus on pushing through everything you’re personally responsible for and rest assured that everything else that needs doing will get done.
Fortunately, a personal assistant for your move is no longer a luxury, thanks to tech that allows this person to digitally manage everything he needs to do. Moved, for instance, is a free moving concierge service that provides a personal assistant to manage the myriad tasks required to complete your move — meaning anything from hiring movers to buying insurance. If you’re not looking for a personal assistant to plan your move but just want one to do the dirty work of packing and unpacking, Amazon Home Services is one option.
Find a personal shopper who lets you skip the grocery store.
If you have a hectic work schedule or a large family at home, grocery shopping can seem like a part-time job all on its own. The well-to-do have long had hired help whose duties include keeping the kitchen well stocked. Now, you can reap the benefits of a personal assistant when you’re struggling to make it to the store — without paying someone to be on call 24/7.
Simply type up your grocery list and use a personal shopper from a service like Instacart, which does same-day delivery from a long list of grocery stores. For a one-time fee, you can have someone else pick up all of your necessities, texting you for a Plan B if your favorite brand is sold out or the store’s produce selection is lacking. Then, she delivers everything right to your door.
Sign up for a personal shopper who knows your style — and your budget.
The idea of a personal shopper, even when a store offers the service for free, may seem a little daunting. If you’ve used a personal shopper at a higher-end department store, you probably know it can be tempting to make expensive purchases. The experience can also entail hours of trying on clothes and consulting your shopper’s opinion on your style.
Instead of spending more money or time than you really want to, turn to tech for the modern personal shopper experience. Stitch Fix, for example, is a personal style service that hand-picks five items then sends them straight to your home. You simply fill out a profile describing your style, wish list, and price, and if you don’t like what shows up, you send it back. You can order things on demand or set up an automatic regular shipment. If you’d like to consult a personal shopper for fashion advice, something like Style Counsel, an iPhone app that provides fashion counseling, may be a better fit.
Find a personal pharmacist who will never make you leave your house.
Instead of routine trips to the drugstore to pick up your medications, there are now digital platforms that will deliver your prescriptions to your door.
One such digital pharmacy is Medly Pharmacy, which delivers prescription medicine for no charge throughout New York City. The full-service digital pharmacy manages everything about your prescription, including refills and insurance. Plus, trained pharmacists are always available to answer your questions.
Put your trust in an AI personalized travel agent.
Coordinating travel plans is one task that a human personal assistant has traditionally filled. True, the internet has made planning a trip easier by vastly increasing the amount of information you have at your fingertips and giving you the ability to book flights and make reservations electronically. Yet even with all of those options available with one click, finding the best prices and most convenient flights can still be a major undertaking.
AI has made personal service available to more than just passengers who only fly first class. Take the Mezi app, for example, which essentially is a personal travel assistant. You send Mezi a text with the general outlines of your trip (“Hey, Mezi: I need to go to San Francisco for business on October 5-8. Can you find me a morning flight and a hotel?), and the app responds with flight, hotel, and even restaurant recommendations and books the arrangements upon your request.
While you may never reach the level of wealth or fame where you “have people for that,” with these tech-driven alternatives, you won’t need them. Check out these five options to get the helping hands you need.