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What’s more important - Your training data - Or your model

A commonly used phrase in the domains of data science and artificial intelligence is “garbage in, garbage out”. While the phrase may seem harsh at first glance, it stresses the importance of avoiding substandard data to steer clear of erroneous predictions and insights. An often under-appreciated point of the phrase is that training data is of equal, if not higher, importance than your AI model. This is because data has the potential to be a bottleneck in the improvement of your user experience. With good data, any improvement of your AI model would yield an overall user experience upgrade. However, with bad data, no matter how much you improve your AI model the overall quality will not go up. 

While any carefully curated dataset won’t fall to the “garbage” level the phrase refers to, it does not mean that all curated datasets are optimized. Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly common that developers and executives pay far more attention to the adoption of newer AI technology than the optimization of their training data. We often see advances in the field attributed to the invention of increasingly robust AI models, with the seemingly mundane work in data collection and optimization being ignored. These sophisticated new AI algorithms are most certainly exciting innovations, but it is important to recognize that they would not be as successful without the growing body of high-quality data fed to them.

When your goal is to build a high-quality virtual agent for your business, high-quality data should be one of your top priorities. Business-oriented virtual agents differ from the general NLP tools mentioned in the previous paragraph. Your virtual agent needs to have extensive knowledge of your business domain, and focus less on other irrelevant areas. This is called a “closed-domain model”.

The implications of implementing a closed-domain model are that you will likely need to spend significant resources creating, labeling, and fine-tuning every sentence in every conversation, in hopes that your virtual agent can successfully handle as many use-cases as possible. While it is common to wonder if such tasks can be bought from existing cloud platforms, a cursory review of their services reveals that they are wonderful tools in all areas but one: domain-specific data. 

The good news is, we can help. At Wysdom we have years of experience optimizing virtual agents and bots. Our work has proven success in numerous industries: telecom, financial services, insurance, automotive, retail, consumer packaged goods, travel and hospitality, and utilities. This gives us the much-needed domain-specific expertise required to optimize a virtual agent that maximizes the user experience in your field. If you are already using an existing virtual agent platform, our tools are compatible with most platforms on the market, deployed on either your website or social media. We provide the key ingredient that optimizes the quality of virtual agent-handled conversations and minimizes the need for live agents to waste time on simple tasks, leaving them to focus on complicated queries and client requirements. 

If you want to know how our data library can help your company reach its user experience potential, contact us today.

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