Conversational artificial intelligence is revolutionizing business operations in every industry with applications like virtual agents, chatbots, and assistants. A conversational AI system engages in humanlike dialog, understands context, and offers intelligent responses by recognizing speech and text, understanding intent, deciphering language, and responding in a way that mimics human conversation. However, these AI models can be massive and highly complex.
For a high-quality conversation between a human and a machine, responses have to be quick, intelligent, and natural sounding. The larger a model is, the longer the lag between a user’s question and the AI’s response. Gaps longer than two-tenths of a second sound unnatural. Therefore, all the necessary computation must take place in a 200-millisecond window.
With such a tight latency budget, developers of conversational AI have to make tradeoffs. A high-quality, complex model could be used as a chatbot, where latency isn’t as essential as it is in a voice interface. Or developers can use a less bulky language-processing model that delivers results quickly but lacks nuanced responses. We are all familiar with how a voice assistant may stall during conversations by providing a response like “let me look that up for you” before answering a question. The ideal conversational AI is complex enough to accurately understand a person’s queries, and fast enough to respond quickly in seamless natural language.
Mike McNamara is a senior product and solution marketing leader at NetApp with over 25 years of data management and cloud storage marketing experience. Before joining NetApp over ten years ago, Mike worked at Adaptec, Dell EMC, and HPE. Mike was a key team leader driving the launch of a first-party cloud storage offering and the industry’s first cloud-connected AI/ML solution (NetApp), unified scale-out and hybrid cloud storage system and software (NetApp), iSCSI and SAS storage system and software (Adaptec), and Fibre Channel storage system (EMC CLARiiON).
In addition to his past role as marketing chairperson for the Fibre Channel Industry Association, he is a member of the Ethernet Technology Summit Conference Advisory Board, a member of the Ethernet Alliance, a regular contributor to industry journals, and a frequent event speaker. Mike also published a book through FriesenPress titled "Scale-Out Storage - The Next Frontier in Enterprise Data Management" and was listed as a top 50 B2B product marketer to watch by Kapos.