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Identifying True AI in Event Tech

This is a headshot of Casey McMullen, who provides a concise guide to AI within the event tech industry in this article.

Identifying True AI in Event Tech is a contributed article from Convention Data Services.

In the world of event tech, the buzzword “AI” seems to be echoing in every booth and keynote. While the promise that artificial intelligence software will transform your events might sound alluring, it is important to cut through all the hype and understand what’s truly AI and what is simply “dressed up” data analytics. This article aims to cut through the noise and provide a clear, concise guide to understanding the true nature of AI within the event tech industry.

Understanding the Basics  

Basic data analytics involves collecting and analyzing past data to uncover patterns and trends. It helps you understand what worked at previous events, who your typical attendees are, and how to optimize future experiences. This is valuable insight, but it’s not AI.

True AI learns autonomously, evolving its understanding and capabilities based on experience and exposure to new data. It can adapt to unforeseen situations and generate unique insights. While data analytics will help you with uncovering “what” happened and “how” it happened; AI will delve into the “why” behind patterns and even predicting “what if” scenarios. This allows for proactive recommendations and personalized experiences.

Common Misconceptions About AI  

As the event tech industry rapidly adopts new technologies, it’s crucial to separate fact from fiction. Many features marketed as “AI” are often simply advanced forms of data analytics or scripted automation. Understanding these common misconceptions will help you recognize true AI and make informed decisions about the technology you choose to implement. Here are some prevalent misunderstandings:

Basic Matchmaking Algorithms  

An often-touted feature in event tech is the ability to match attendees with one another or with sessions and vendors based on pre-defined criteria, such as industry or interests. While useful, this simple matchmaking is often branded as “AI.”

True AI goes beyond basic matchmaking. It involves understanding dynamic preferences, analyzing social interactions, and even considering real-time behavior. AI-powered matchmaking would continuously learn from attendee feedback, interactions, and changing preferences to make more personalized connections, enhancing networking opportunities and overall event engagement.

Chatbots with Scripted Responses  

Many events now feature chatbots to assist attendees, claiming to use “AI” to provide information and support. However, most of these chatbots are programmed with scripted responses, guiding users through a fixed set of options or answers.

Unlike these scripted assistants, true AI chatbots are dynamic conversational agents that learn and evolve. They understand and respond to queries in a more human-like manner, adapting their responses based on the conversation’s context and the user’s past interactions. Over time, AI chatbots become more sophisticated, providing personalized and contextually relevant assistance, far surpassing the capabilities of their scripted counterparts.

Personalization Based on Static Data

Personalization is a key selling point for many event technologies, often claiming to use “AI” to tailor the event experience to individual preferences. Typically, this involves recommending sessions, people to meet, or content based on static data like demographics or past attendance.

AI-driven personalization is a dynamic and ongoing process. It doesn’t just look at who you are or what you’ve done in the past; it also considers your real-time interests, how you’re interacting with the event in the moment, and even your emotional responses or changes in preferences. By analyzing a wide array of data points, true AI can create a highly personalized and adaptive event experience, constantly updating recommendations and content to match the evolving context and needs of each attendee.

How to Identify True AI in Event Tech Products  

One of the most effective ways to discern real AI from the pretenders is by asking critical questions. When evaluating a vendor’s event tech product, consider the following questions to gauge whether the technology truly uses artificial intelligence:

  • How does the system learn and improve over time?

The vendor should be able to explain what data the system uses to learn and adapt, as well as provide examples of how the system evolves with more data or exposure to different scenarios.

  • How does the AI personalize the user experience?

Ask for an explanation of how the AI tailors the experience to individual users. The vendor should be able to explain what data points the AI considers when personalizing, and how it adapts to real-time changes in user behavior or preferences.

  • Can the AI predict and respond to unforeseen scenarios or changes in patterns?

Ask the vendor to explain how their system handles unexpected situations or anomalies. Have them provide examples of the AI predicting trends or adapting to new information.

  • What metrics or results can the AI demonstrate?

Request clear examples or case studies where their AI has improved event outcomes, such as increased engagement or enhanced personalization and how those improvements were measured or validated.

Asking these questions will not only help you understand the AI capabilities of the product but also the vendor’s expertise and commitment to genuine AI innovation. Remember, true AI should be able to learn, adapt, make independent decisions, and ultimately drive meaningful improvements to your event experiences.

Genuine AI has the potential to revolutionize the event tech industry. By understanding the difference between mere data analytics and real AI, you can be equipped to make informed decisions and ensure that your investments in technology provide you (and your attendees) with genuine innovation and value.

Reach Casey McMullen at

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