BlogLost in the hype: Unrealistic AI demos can hinder user adoption

Recent demos often showcase fantastical AI use cases, but for real user adoption, AI needs to solve genuine problems.

May 24, 2024

If you’ve been paying attention to the recent rollouts of AI products during live conference exhibitions and slick video reels, you may have witnessed rounds of applause that also leave you pondering, “Why would I ever do that?”, or “Who would ever need that?”

These demos often paint scenarios that are entirely fabricated, at least for the general public. For instance:

  • The Careless Jet-setter: A supremely price-insensitive user tells the AI, “I’m whisking myself off to Paris for a gourmet burger adventure. Find me the tastiest restaurant, book my flights, hotel, and dinner reservation! And get me an Uber.”
  • The Forgetful Hiker: Another user chimes in who has forgotten how to use websites and search engines, “I need the best hiking boots for tomorrow’s excursion into the Alaskan wilderness. GO!”

These contrived use cases, trotted out to showcase AI capabilities, miss the mark entirely as solutions in search of problems. While some fantastical scenarios might inspire creative exploration, they don’t translate well into practical applications that resonate with real users. However, while these companies prioritize dazzling viewers with the technology itself, they seemingly struggle to bridge the gap and demonstrate how it tackles real-world challenges.

Demystifying AI: Solving real problems

The power of generative AI lies in its ability to reason using natural language input, manage unstructured data with relative ease, and overall streamline existing processes that were often manual and time-intensive. At Planorama Design, we advocate for a user-centric approach, and would likewise advocate for prioritizing demonstrations that showcase AI’s ability to tackle real-world problems.

Here are some practical examples of how AI is making a difference:

  • Improved Customer Support: AI-powered chatbots can handle routine inquiries, freeing human agents for complex issues. This translates to faster resolution times and enhanced customer satisfaction.
  • Automating Repetitive Tasks: Data entry, scheduling appointments, and generating reports are just a few examples of tedious tasks that AI can automate. This frees up valuable time for employees to focus on more strategic initiatives.
  • Personalization Powerhouse: AI can analyze user behavior and preferences, enabling businesses to deliver personalized recommendations and experiences. This could be anything from suggesting relevant products on an e-commerce site to curating a customized news feed.
  • Enhanced Security & Fraud Detection: AI algorithms can analyze vast datasets to identify patterns and anomalies, significantly improving security measures and fraud detection capabilities.
  • Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG): Imagine an AI system that can answer your questions and perform actions based on information found across documents and websites that were never part of the language model’s training set. RAG frameworks are making significant strides in this area.
  • Agent Frameworks: These frameworks allow AI to not only identify problems but also determine the best course of action. The AI can then dispatch specialized agents to tackle specific aspects of the problem, creating a more comprehensive and efficient approach to complex challenges.

Beyond the hype: A user-centric future

While the user behaviors depicted in some conference demos might seem futuristic or unrealistic, in truth the key lies in leveraging innovation to address user needs. AI should augment human capabilities, rather than force humans into unnatural workflows. Focusing on genuine user pain points and frustrations should be the driving force behind AI integration into products and services.

A user-centric approach ensures that AI remains a powerful tool that solves problems and enhances user experiences. As AI technology continues to evolve, the future promises a collaborative partnership between humans and machines, where user needs remain at the forefront.

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