Podcast 76: Truth in AI, Consig AI, RJ Burnham

Podcast Directory

RJ Burnham is the founder / CEO of Consig AI. I’ve known RJ since his time with Voxeo, which spun out Tropo, a competitor to Twilio, that was sold to Cisco. I really like how RJ positions his experience, he’s been working in voice AI for over 25 years. AI being the latest tool to enhance voice communications.

RJ will be presenting at TADSummit 2024 in October, 22-23. His session is:

Voice AI: Breaking Past the Bullshit
RJ Burnham, Founder & CEO at Consig AI

While AI is the latest buzzword, there’s a lot of hype overshadowing the real advancements. The world of voice AI is evolving at breakneck speed. What was impossible a few years ago is now within reach.

But with these advancements come new challenges. From barge-in issues to streaming models, we need to rethink our approach to harness the full potential of voice AI. Having worked on voice “AI” since the 90s, I’ve seen the technology grow and transform.

This talk dives into the complexities, addresses the current gaps, and explores cutting-edge solutions that are reshaping the industry.Topics will include:
* Rethinking barge-in for seamless interactions;
* Tackling real-time processing and latency; and
* Leveraging streaming models for better performance.

Consig AI is focused on voice automation, for example long form voice survey responses. In building Consig AI, a critical aspect is flexibility given how rapidly Voice AI is developing.

RJ’s positioning of Consig AI is interesting. He’s not chasing after the shiny new ideas, that field is too crowded. He’s also aware that moves by big players like Microsoft, Google, OpenAI can impact his new company’s plans.

Instead, the fundamental issue Consig solves is all the adapters for existing businesses to get Voice AI working, the blocking and tackling. There’s money to be made on all the integrations. This reminds me of the role Jambonz plays in enabling CX (Customer eXperience) companies (e.g. Cognigy) to add voice to their offers. Focused and solving the integration headache.

We then jumped back to RJ’s time with Voxeo and what learning from there he applies today. Here RJ highlights people are a source of many problems faced by businesses, regardless of industry. And underlying those problems is trust. We see that today with SPAM SMS and robocalling, mobile customers do not trust their communication service providers.

RJ links the trust issue to the hallucinations voice AI has today. There’s a battle between RAG (Retrieval-Augmented Generation) and giving the LLM free reign. Often enterprises prefer free reign as the conversation is more natural. We then discuss ways to mitigate the hallucinations, as there is a cost in breaking rules, while that cost can even be a positive in the right context.

I’m really looking forward to RJ’s session at TADSummit, “Voice AI: Breaking Past the Bullshit”.

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