AI, GPT and l’art de vivre à la française

L’art de vivre à la française, or the French way of life emphasizes the importance of enjoying life to the fullest by taking time for leisure and cultural pursuits, savoring good food and wine, and cherishing meaningful relationships. It is about embracing the simple pleasures in life, such as a stroll in a park, a leisurely breakfast, or a glass of wine with friends. In 2021, Emmanuel Macron famously spoke about resuming this lifestyle, put on pause by the strict rules of confinement.

“Terrasses, musées, cinémas, théâtres… Retrouvons ce qui fait notre art de vivre.”

– Tweeted on May 19, 2021

What does this lifestyle mean in the corporate world that defines our professional lives?

In a world where everyone followed this lifestyle, employees would have sufficient time for work-related tasks, but also have adequate time for leisure, self-care, and personal development activities. Flexible work hours would allow employees to choose the hours they work and manage their work-life balance according to their needs and preferences. Vacation time would be sacrosanct, with employees encouraged to take sufficient time off to recharge and refresh.

There would be a strong emphasis on taking time for leisure and cultural pursuits, including time for travel and experiencing new cultures and cuisines. It also values the pursuit of beauty, creativity, and personal style, with a strong emphasis on fashion and aesthetics.

Overall, it is about living life with a certain joie de vivre, or zest for life, and cherishing the moments that make life worth living.

Now, you must be wondering what all this has to do with the (in)famous GPT. Let’s step back for a moment to look at this lifestyle in light of work life in 2023.

The naysayers for this lifestyle are many. I’m not one of them, but I have to wonder if it is aligned to the demands of modern work life. The constantly changing world, with high expectation of professional achievements and financial success despite the many uncertainties, and the increasing pressure on individuals to be highly productive and efficient, make it challenging to fully embrace the ideal work-life balance à la française. The way I see it, the only way to truly enjoy life à la française in an increasingly expensive world is if you have ample leisure time (more than what one expects even in a healthy work-life balance) and a very good bank balance. So you’re either already rolling in the green stuff, or you don’t have very high ambitions, and are more focused on the leisure (and affordable) aspects of life.

But here’s a technology that might just allow you to achieve both. GPT, or Generative Pre-trained Transformer, has the potential to allow more people to adopt l’art de vivre à la française. Let’s start with the obvious. GPT can improve productivity by helping you to automate most of the mundane and monotonous tasks and free up time for leisure activities, aligning with the French emphasis on taking time for oneself and savoring life’s pleasures:

AI-powered scheduling tools can help schedule and prioritize work tasks. They can also help manage emails, automate reminders, and suggest meetings based on personal preferences and priorities. Large language models like GPT can also be used to automate report writing, data analysis, and other writing-intensive tasks.

AI and GPT can also be used to support and enhance remote work, enabling employees to work from anywhere, anytime. This flexibility can help employees achieve a better work-life balance by avoiding the need to commute and being able to fit work around personal life. So basically AI can play a significant role in helping achieve a perfect work-life balance à la française by reducing the time and mental energy required for the many mundane tasks of most professionals.

And as if these productivity-enhancing feature’s aren’t enough, GPT’s ability to understand and generate human-like text can make it easier to access and enjoy works of fiction, poetry, and other written works! So more time for cultural immersion, and also a very easy way to understand that culture?

If done right, this is just the tip of the disruption that awaits us. Would I thus be terribly wrong to conclude that GPT can support and enhance the French lifestyle by reducing time-consuming tasks and enabling individuals to focus on the aspects of life that matter most to them?


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