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Wondering whether AI can help married life

A View From the Edge

Sometimes, in this pressured world, we end up texting our loved ones instead of calling, but those text conversations can add to the stress of relationships. When it comes to communicating over SMS, my wife and I sometimes think quite differently.

Here’s a fictitious text from my wife the other day (I have elaborated only a little): “Now I am at Walgreens waiting for a flu shot but they have a few people ahead of me so I managed to review the list of shopping I still have to do and see that you forget to tell me to pick up your cleaning, do you need it today? I picked up the feed bags from Tractor Supply, then I’ll stop off to see my friend at Tranquil Buzz, before I check the co-op for groceries we may be missing…do you have anything there you need me to get?”

Before I could reply, came a second message, “Filled the car, more than $75 which is ridiculous, perhaps we need to get a hybrid?”

And then a third, “Got the shot, off to Tranquil Buzz.”

My response, even if I could have slipped in between those three, would have been tempered by workload in the office. To the first I replied, “Cleaning? Please. Groceries? Nothing. Thanks.”

To the second I replied, “Car discussion later.”

To the third, “Have fun.”

Now, given that she had been so chatty, it might seem rude that I responded so tersely.

That was not my intent. If only there was a way to turn my responses into something she would want to read.

What I want is a phone app that uses AI to translate what I have time to say into more caring wife speak. Here’s what AI could have responded with to the first message: “I cannot believe Walgreens, where you made an appointment, are keeping you waiting. Poor you! And I am so sorry to have forgotten to mention my cleaning, so could you please drop in and see if you can pick it up, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have time. Oh, and thanks for collecting the Tractor Supply feed bags. I hope it did not inconvenience you in any way. Say Hi to your friend at the Tranquil Buzz, have a hot chocolate on me! I am so happy you and she take the time to visit. As for groceries, darling, you know best. Whatever you want would be best.”

For the second, the AI could respond with, “How terrible for you to need to spend all that money on gas. It is unfair. Perhaps we could look into buying a hybrid. Let’s discuss at home later.”

To the third, “Drive safe darling, have a great visit at the Tranquil Buzz, miss you. Love and kisses.”

And if this new app was any good it could save me the time trying to wade through long text messages and would have reduced her incoming messages: message one, “Got feed. Pick up your cleaning? Need food?”; message 2: “filled car.”; message 3: “Tranquil Buzz shortly.”

In this way, AI could act as an SMS marriage counselor, of sorts. My wife deserves happier messages. It is worth considering… Or maybe perhaps not?


Peter Riva, a former resident of Amenia Union, now lives in New Mexico.

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