Why There Are No Early "Wow" Moments When Adopting AI

Posted by Alyssa Verzino on Dec 11, 2018 11:55:06 AM

Screen Shot 2018-12-11 at 11.40.22 AMFor the past several years, software vendors and customers have been trained to look for a "wow" moment when trying out new software -- which is an expectation sure to lead to disappointment among adopters of modern artificial intelligence solutions. AI almost never gives you a traditional "wow" moment, which can often lead you to underestimate, overlook, or mistakenly dismiss the value of an AI solution.

For those unfamiliar with the term, the "wow," "aha" or "eureka" moment occurs when the value of a new software solution suddenly becomes obvious. A function or a feature stands out and the software's impact on your business is instantly and compellingly apparent.

If a software solution is sold through a free trial or freemium model, it is almost always designed to have its wow moment show up early in the adoption or onboarding cycle, so you're encouraged (if not compelled) to fully commit to the software as soon as possible.

The concept of a wow moment is now so common that product managers, customer success leads, and sales teams now measure the "time to wow" for their systems so they can expedite the adoption cycle.

Artificial intelligence almost never has an early wow moment -- AI delivers its wows later.

That's because AI solutions are self-improving; they learn as they go and get more effective over time. When you first deploy and AI system, it likely won't be any more effective than conventional software. But, given time and adequate training data, it's performance will improve until it eventually crosses into wow territory.

As an example, take Apple's Siri voice interface, which was an instantly wow-worthy solution when Apple included it in the iPhone 4S in 2011. What is often forgotten or unknown about Siri is that Apple acquired this technology, which was trained on years of voice-recognition data from Nuance, a speech-recognition company that had developed speech-to-text functionality over a quarter-century. It took a long time to amass enough training data for the Siri AI to be competent as a voice assistant, but now its "wow" is apparent.

Most business-oriented AI solutions available today are analogous to the Nuance speech-processing software of 10 or even 20 years ago -- they are much earlier on the refinement curve, and their Siri-equivalent "wow" is in the future. These AI solutions still have value -- just as the Nuance solutions had value in the early 2000s -- but they won't wow you like Siri did just yet.

The good news is that AI as a field is much more sophisticated today than it was in 1994, so the "time to wow" is no longer measured in years or decades, but instead perhaps months. You won't have to wait years to find your wow moment with an AI solution, but you won't get it during a 30-day trial, either.

Today, a phone without a Siri-like interface is considered primitive, and the functionality that virtual phone assistants offer is indispensable. Put simply, it was worth the wait.

When you adopt an AI solution today, don't expect a short-term wow moment. Invest for the long term, and your eventual wow moment will likely be worth the wait, too.

If you'd like to start your journey towards an AI wow moment -- and still gain some immediate improvement to your customer support process -- contact Talla today.

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