The Devil Wears PrA.I.da: Miranda Priestly and her A.I. Assistant


11 years ago, on June 29, The Devil Wears Prada was released. If you watched the movie repeatedly, you certainly remember the Ambassador scene. It’s the night of the benefit, someone waves at Miranda Priestly, so she turns to her assistants to find out who the person is. But panic sets in: the first assistant can’t recall the identity of the mysterious man, who will turn out to be Ambassador Franklin.

Ambassador Franklin at the Benefit. Source:

Now it’s 2017 and her two assistants should be able to focus on other tasks rather than memorize two notebooks full of faces and names. A software would suffice. Plus, there wouldn’t be any memory loss issues. Who said automation is a man’s world? And who said it only has nerdy applications?

In fact, Artificial Intelligence is glamorous. It’s just like the new little black dress: essential, versatile, affordable, and accessible. Even more, you’re a fool if you think this stuff “has nothing to do with you”. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an editor for a fashion magazine, a marketing manager in a pharmaceutical company, or the CEO of a non-profit organization: you embrace AI every time you communicate with a smartphone virtual assistant, use an online translator, follow targeted ads which know exactly what you are looking for, and every time you swipe right on your dating app, just to name a few applications. The recent advances are even more promising and can truly revolutionize our work.

Let’s get back to the example of the Ambassador scene. What can our automated assistant do? We already mentioned the fact that it can recognize faces, and you won’t even have to provide any notebooks: the software will create its own from the sources provided, such as footages or photos from previous events. Thanks to cognitive computing, it will process the material and identify faces as well as patterns. Maybe the Ambassador doesn’t like to shake hands or only drinks white wine. Being able to interpret certain types of behavior may be as important as knowing the person’s identity. Even more, it can help us make predictions: does the pursing of his lips mean he’s happy or disappointed?

If we decide not to limit ourselves to computer vision, we can also benefit from natural language processing. Let’s suppose we have some emails from the Ambassador. We can feed them to our bot, so that it can remind you of any issues discussed or urgent matters. It can even automatically interact with Ambassador Franklin to schedule the next meeting. We aren’t done yet. All you need is some creativity to imagine how AI can be applied to your daily business.

Can you imagine working without all the tedious duties being any of your business? So you can focus on “the important tasks”, on the things that matter to you the most? It’d be great to have all these small and yet time-consuming activities sorted out by a machine. The only drawback? It can’t get you a coffee. Yet.

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