Last week, I listened to the February 15th edition of “The Daily”, a New York Times podcast hosted by Michael Barbaro. Very powerful. The focus was “search engines” and, in particular, Microsoft’s announcements about its new artificial intelligence engine supporting Bing search. Michael’s guest was Kevin Roose, New York Times technology columnist, who shared one of his experiences trying out the enhanced Bing, pre-release version, shared with a by-invitation group of industry folk.
Kevin: “When I was testing the new Bing last week, I was looking for something to do with my family over the weekend. And, so, I said, you know: “What are some kid-friendly activities that I could do in my hometown this weekend? And it generated a list of options. And of the three things that it listed for me, all of them had already happened. One of them happened the previous weekend. One of them happened two weekends earlier. One of them was a Hanukkah party that happened in mid-December. So, none of them were actually things that I could do that coming weekend.”
Michael: “Which basically makes that an entirely useless search.”
Kevin: “Entirely useless search… but one that sounded very plausible. And if I hadn’t gone to the underlying websites and actually looked at the dates, I would have had no idea and I might have shown up expecting a Hanukkah party or a Lunar New Year party that had already happened and looked like a real idiot. So, that’s a benign example, relatively.
But, you can imagine this going way worse. People ask search engines very important questions – questions about how to save and spend their money, questions about medications and medical advice. People really do put a lot of trust in their search engines and, if these search engines are just generating plausible sounding but wrong answers, that could be a very big problem.”
So, I thought about that for a bit, you know, as you do. And, had the thought: Substitute “sales representative” for “search engine”:
“People ask [sales representatives] very important questions – questions about how to save and spend their money, etc., etc., etc. People really do put a lot of trust in their [sales representatives] and, if these [sales representatives] are just generating plausible sounding but wrong answers, that could be a very big problem.”
Nick Miller and Clarity train banks and bankers to attract and develop deeper relationships with small businesses. Many more Sales Thoughts like this and a host of other articles and resources at https://clarityadvantage.com/knowledge-center/ .
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