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Does your AI need a personality?

If you are Amazon with Alexa, clearly your AI needs a personality–Alexa wants to be your helpful friend. You talk to her. She talks back. No problem. But does your business AI need a personality? Everywhere you look, someone thinks it does. IBM wants you to love Watson. SAP has Leonardo. Salesforce has Einstein. For you big companies left: Fermi, Curie, and Plato are up for grabs, I think.

Do we need to anthropomorphize AI to make it marketable? Palatable? Acceptable? Approachable? Is this an important part of AI adoption, or a silly phase we will look back on with disdain? I personally think it’s overkill and might actually backfire as we all become better sophisticated, learning that AI isn’t anywhere near as smart as Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, or even IBM founder Tom Watson.

Maybe we should be looking for real genius, like the guy who invented soft-serve ice cream, Tom Carvel. I can hear him now, “Look at this AI. It’s beautiful AI. It’s the best AI money can buy.” So, maybe we should name our AI “Tom.” Yeah, not sexy, I know, but that’s the point.

AI is becoming embedded in every kind of software you can imagine, and, at it’s best, it isn’t noticeable at all. It just does the job better.

I think Google has the right approach. Yes, you say “Hey, Google,” when you want to talk to your Google Assistant, but there are countless AI component inside dozens of Google products, starting with Google Search, that don’t need a name. They just work better.

To me, that’s what we really needed. AI that works better, rather than has a cute name.


Full disclosure: I am the Senior Strategist at Converseon and SoloSegment, both of which have AI that works, without any cute names.

Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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