Volume 10 Number 4 |April 2020


Our mission is to spark new thinking and ideas for creating a thriving business and rewarding life.

Non-Artificial Intelligence

It seems to me that building “intelligence” into products and services to enhance their performance is a noble pursuit, although not one always observed. For example, my cars will automatically adjust the memory positions for my wife and me based on what key is used, hers or mine, even if just in our pockets. That makes a big difference since there is ten inches of height difference, and I would hit my head on the ceiling and she couldn’t see over the wheel!

On the other hand, I find that our TV remotes have too many settings, which simply serve to make the use of them more difficult. And those vacuuming robots, supposedly able to maneuver on their own, come to a screeching halt if Bentley, our German Shepherd, simply shakes in their path and deposits enough loose hair to asphyxiate them.

So What Constitutes Intelligence?

To me, the customer’s or client’s experience has to be improved. You may think you improve it if I can receive messages on my phone, but not if they are intrusive or hard to turn off. I’m not “improved” when I’m asked to make a reservation at a hotel I frequently patronize and must record the same information again and again, as if they’ve never heard of me. Nor am I romanced by the trite phrase “Please listen to all of the message because our options have recently changed,” which is just an attempt to prevent me from trying to reach a human too early in the call.

Theaters now have automated popcorn machines (with a choice of condiments) which is a huge improvement, as is obtaining my ticket on the web. But a boarding pass on my phone isn’t of much help if it won’t appear reliably as the TSA agent loses patience.

Whose Benefit?

When someone wants to interview me and I’m inclined to do them that favor, I become disinclined when they send me an automated program for me to insert my time into their schedule and fill out a form with information that they can use in the interview.

I’d just as soon interview myself if I’m going to do all the work.

I find that at least half of all automated installations and artificial intelligence insertions are for the provider, the seller, the vender. They aren’t for the customer. My life becomes more difficult in order to improve the life of the person I’m paying.

What’s wrong with that picture?

When you consider automation for your clients also consider whether the end result is an improvement in their condition. I don’t enjoy waiting while your system tries to track you down on the right phone. I’d rather leave a brief message to get back to me.

Don’t make me leave a longer message telling you never to get back to me.

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© Alan Weiss 2020

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