If you work with AI then data is one of the building blocks of your business.
Discussions around data invariably bring up jargon. Do you know your ‘neural parsers’ from your ‘symbolic parsers’? Nope, me neither. Even when you know the terms you often need to perform mental somersaults to understand the concepts they describe.
Why? The tech behind clever little machines that talk and listen is extremely complex. It takes smart minds to create AI.
This leads to one of the primary challenges when adopting AI – you need to understand the field well enough to avoid the pitfalls. You can’t just be a nodding head in every meeting, hoping that the penny will drop later. If you do that you’re delaying important decisions – and the important decisions could soon stack up and paralyse you.
You can’t just hit and hope. Avoid treating AI like a black box where magic happens – you need to know what goes on inside, otherwise you’re unwittingly exposed to dangers. Down the line you could be sued or need to tear down what you built and start again if you avoid your responsibilities to the users and the law. All because you built something before you understood it.
This stood out to me when I listened to Angel Martinez being interviewed by Kane Simms on the VUX World podcast.
Your data empire
There’s a lot to learn about AI and its uses before you apply it to your business. Some things should be tackled first. Perhaps ‘data sovereignty’ is at the top of the pile.
Why does that matter? Let’s look at the way you handle customer data.
How do you become GDPR compliant? In other words; what does the European law say you must do? That’s one aspect of the customer data conundrum.
Then there’s another big issue related to data ownership. One seemingly basic component of voice tech is ASR – it converts voice to text (this is what Angel’s team at Deutsche Telekom are developing). ASR is anything but simple
though. Building your own is going to cost serious time and money, so you may choose to outsource this process.
If you decide to rely on third-parties to process your data, do they also keep a copy? Are you paying them twice – both financially for their service and also by giving them access to data that they can monetise in other ways? Remember; that data belongs to your customers, and you’ve entered into a contract with those customers to process it. How you approach the usage of that data will say a lot about your relationship with your customers. Brands that aggressively monetise user data can discover that it’s very hard to lose that reputation – as Facebook/Meta has discovered in recent years.
Clever is as clever does
When developing their ASR system, Angel’s team considered carefully how to approach GDPR compliance and data sovereignty from the very start. They knew that these compromises had to be baked-in – although this slowed them down during development they knew it was worth it in the long run. The important thing is that they were aware of this danger and considered it from the start.
That’s the value of being well-informed. Whether you’re the one in the know, or you have a team of advisors who you trust – somebody has to know about these things.
As Angel wonderfully puts it – “dealing with data is like dealing with radioactive waste. It’s great for generating energy, but then you have to be very careful. How do you process it, and eventually dispose of it?”
Knowledge is another source of power, and it will help you avoid a legal and reputational disaster.
For more information on the importance of data privacy and security, check out this conversation with Private AI CEO, Patricia Thaine on VUX World. And, for more about how to test your solutions for GDPR compliance, check out this chat VUX World had with Christoph Börner, CEO, Botium.
This article was written by Benjamin McCulloch. Ben is a freelance conversation designer and an expert in audio production. He has a decade of experience crafting natural sounding dialogue: recording, editing and directing voice talent in the studio. Some of his work includes dialogue editing for Philips’ ‘Breathless Choir’ series of commercials, a Cannes Pharma Grand-Prix winner; leading teams in localizing voices for Fortune 100 clients like Microsoft, as well as sound design and music composition for video games and film.