AUTHOR: David Clarke
DATE: January 14, 2021
AI – Is It Just a Load of Hot AIr?
From the factory floor to the C-suite, over the last year, the subject of AI has seemed completely inescapable (along with some other subjects we shall not mention here!). The language and technology sector is certainly no exception to the trend, with new AI platforms, products and all-encompassing “solutions” popping up and promising to totally change the game. It seems AI is the great saviour of the modern business – the answer to all of the current market’s needs in terms of cost efficiencies, time savings, and everyone’s New Year’s resolution to “work smarter”.
But my investigations have revealed that, if you scratch beneath the surface, you don’t need to be an expert to see there’s often not much substance to what is being offered. The “game-changing” AI platform turns out to be a futuristic interface plastered on top of a traditional service; the AI’s “efficiencies” actually come from linguists being paid a pittance for higher-volume, lower-quality work, and so on.
It seems that great swathes of the AI providers out there, knowingly or not, are selling you nothing more than an appearance of innovation – a word that investors in new tech love to see in a prospectus.
So is that it? Myth debunked? AI doesn’t think for itself, so are we all being sold a load of hot air? Or does the emperor indeed have some clothes on?
The answer – as with most things – is… well, it depends. It depends on who’s providing the tech and how much you can trust them. It depends on how transparent they are about the way their tools work, where there is human involvement, and how much time and money the tool itself is actually saving. At the risk of adding my voice to an already very loud chorus, when it works, what we call “AI” really can be game changing! It can allow you to do more, and do it faster, cheaper, and to at least the same standard as the traditional processes it replaces. The key is being able to determine whether or not what you’re getting really does what it says on the tin.
And how exactly does one determine that, I hear you ask. Louder for the people at the back who don’t have a PhD in Coding.
I’m a retired policeman, not a CTO, but I can speak about what I do know, which, naturally enough, relates to the advanced tech tools and services Guildhawk offers. An international author client of ours recently referred to our Guildhawk Aided tool as “the Magic Machine”, but, in truth, there’s nothing mystical or mysterious about how our AI tools work. They don’t “think”; they are simply well coded, well structured, and well managed. And – here’s the key to the above question – we’re completely up-front and honest about how they work, where human input is and isn’t included, and where the savings are coming from.
Our Guildhawk Aided and Text Perfect tools save our clients, on average, about 80% of costs compared to their standard translation and/or proofreading projects. To boil it down to its most basic – for the people at the back – the savings come from effectively incorporating the algorithms and huge data lakes we own into larger processes; while having human involvement (to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the job at hand) ensures quality doesn’t suffer.
So, while it’s true that there’s a lot of hot air out there when it comes to AI and tech solutions, it’s also a fact that – in the current business climate, where resources, time and money are at more of a premium than ever – it would be foolish to discount the very real advantages incorporating tools such as this can provide. To avoid having the wool pulled over your eyes, it’s important not to get too swept up in the hype, but to find a language tech provider who, rather than relying on misdirection, is happy to take you behind the curtain and show you how the “magic” really happens.