It’s Monday, July 11, 2022 and I opened my Inbox this morning and the first email I see is from Microsoft Viva. The email heading is “Commitments and follow-ups”. There are only 2 entries. One is from Ultimate Seats – Tech Support and it says “Please call him Monday afternoon to see if he can help fix the seat on your motorcycle”. The other is from one of our Account Managers and it simply has a client name and my response to her, “Don’t worry I will take care of it.”
My first reaction is wow this is way cool. Those are two things that are very important to me (my butt would really like to get that Harley seat fixed) and somehow Microsoft Viva was able to identify both of them and remind me in a timely email. Each message even has the days ago listed, 2 days ago on the seat and 4 days ago on the client task, so I would know how long it’s been since they were sent. This is very impressive feature that Microsoft has added to their Office 365 suite! I will never forget a task again. I will get the milk and bread on the way home. I won’t forget to pick up the dog from the groomer. And I won’t forget to grab that prescription from that apothecary right next to my office.
But wait! My second reaction is, how the heck did Microsoft know from my 9,016 active emails currently in my Inbox (yes, I am embarrassed to say that is the number) that there were 2 important to-dos they should notify me about? Are they culling through all of my email threads? Looking for key phrases like “Call me” and “I will take care of it”!? What else are they searching through and storing? Holy smokes, I’d better start watching what I am emailing.
And there is the conundrum. It really boils down to trust. I cannot lie. I love this Microsoft feature. Just as I love when I want to order a pizza, I open up Google and type P and Papa John’s immediately pops up in my search bar. On the one hand, wow that’s cool. On the other, how did Google know of all of the English words that start with P that I was going to be looking for food let alone pizza and pizza from Papa John’s. Are they mind readers? Do I like this level of service? Absolutely. Do I want them to stop it? Nope.
The conveniences that modern technology provides us just continue to get better and better. Does it require us to sacrifice some privacy? Yes. Do I care? Not much. But, for those that do care, company’s must provide the right protections and opt-outs to keep customers privacy safe and away from prying eyes and computers.
Now, excuse me but I’m about to order my favorite chicken sandwich from my favorite restaurant. It starts with a C and has a cow for a mascot. Of course, Google already knows this.