Educating Clients about AI

When I think of educating clients about AI, I always think of my coffee-drinking experience. Back in the 90s, I used to drink instant coffee, and, of course, I couldn’t tell the difference between the coffee-tasting surrogate my palate was used to and, say, signature coffee. Now I do.

It took me several years of drinking that instant stuff to realize that when I switch to the freshly-brewed mild-roast Breakfast Blend, it simply doesn’t compare. When you have tasted the better, you don’t want to take a step down.

I believe we will gradually see the same developments with AI. Yes, it’s getting better by the day. Yesterday I checked this new voice-over AI-based app called Speechelo and was so surprised by the quality. The sky is the limit. Or is it?

COVID-19 revealed a very curious human trait, I believe. Even though we were all forced to move online and have to rely so much on cyberspace for work and fellowship, we just can’t shake the feeling of being robbed of something vital.

Even though I can attend so many online events, get in touch with clients, colleagues, and friends within a split second, it doesn’t really satisfy in the same way as face-to-face interactions. Not to mention that I am desperately hug-deprived!

This new way of working works. We get things done. And in some ways I like it. But, it just doesn’t satisfy, if you know what I mean. What’s lacking? Real flesh-and-blood presence. No one can explain why. I see the same faces on Skype and yet it’s not the same. You know what I mean.

As AI makes its way into our world, the client will have to see that it works well but doesn’t satisfy. When the customer gets used to this “instant surrogate” they will, eventually, want to go back to experiencing human-produced texts, voiceovers, etc. Why?

After all, AI is so good that the difference is almost negligible. But just knowing you are reading a computer-generated text, hearing a computer-generated voice, will ultimately feel cheap.

For the same reason, I will go to Etsy to get a 60-dollar hand-made lamp instead of buying a 6-dollar version at Walmart. A Walmart lamp works but doesn’t satisfy in the same way as human touch does.

AI-generated translations and voice-overs will accustom people’s palates to drinking “instant” stuff, but it will feel cheap. However smart a bot is, I will infinitely prefer a human being to talk to. After several months of daily skyping with my friends, I feel I have not seen much of them in years.

I think AI will run its course and make things cheaper for everybody, leaving the customer wondering whether this “fast-food” is really nourishing or just filling you up with “empty” calories.

I believe in time, this will open up a whole new market for signature translations, signature voice-overs, signature writing, etc. when people are fed up with “the artificial” and start seeking the human touch which no machine can offer.