When we envision the future of human technology interaction, it promises automation, artificial intelligence that can independently process, reason and create in the same capacity as the human brain.
Most experts agree we are far from true artificial intelligence.
In fact, the recent trend is toward the phrase “Augmented Intelligence” instead — used to distance this practical group of assistive technologies with many business applications from “artificial intelligence” and all the accompanying imagery of Asimovian science fiction.
AI – that is, Augmented Intelligence – is a powerful tool that we can use to great effect, but only if we understand how and where it works.
Humans and machines are good at different things. We have access to increasingly huge amounts of data, which drives a need to reduce manual overheads, increase efficiency and deliver accurate and reliable outcomes in what can seem like impossibly short time frames.
Augmented Intelligence, used right, can be the answer. AI doesn’t replace human staff – but it can be used to do the heavy lifting, so that your human staff can get on with doing the work of humans.
For example, a solution such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), which helps your AI understand human language use, may be what allows you to filter, categorise and classify your B2B data so it can be put effectively to use. Recently, DCA IncNet went through this process when we gained access to a plethora of B2B data, over 40 times the information we had access to over the last 18 months.
The product you use needs to be the right one to help you achieve your goals. Many of the clients we partner, on making data driven marketing decisions for their organisation, purchase AI from large IT vendors but get caught out in ‘shiny object syndrome’ purchases – fancy, specialised technology that promises solutions to problems they’re not actually experiencing.
Although a great many businesses are finding new and innovative ways to leverage their AI technologies, a good product does not look the same for everybody. It’s vital to focus on whether a product will actually help you achieve your objectives with your customers.
Humans still have a vital role to play. The rise of the machines often leads to nagging fears about job security – but AI cannot operate alone.
Even after deciding on a process and determining what kinds of tasks can be optimally performed by AI, sometimes we still get surprises. It’s important to maintain the flexibility that only human intervention can bring in those cases. AI can save time and reduce costs to serve, but AI plays an assistance role.
AI should work with your staff in their tasks, as opposed to replacing them – hence the term “AI”: Augmented Intelligence.
Context and empathy are still key ingredients for success. Connecting the right messages and truly understanding the customer’s motivations requires something that cannot be gleaned from AI. Without harnessing sales and marketing expertise and the ‘voice of the customer’, outcomes from the use of Augmented Intelligence is sub-optimal. Blending the processing power of Augmented Intelligence with market and customer expertise, while keeping in mind the very great value of context and empathy, provides new and exciting possibilities.
About the Author
Martin Soley is Group General Manager Data Services and has over a decades experience across data quality, analytics and related technology in ANZ and abroad. Martin’s strategic insight and expertise drives commercial outcomes for DCA’s varied clients.