Among the rhetoric of how revolutionary artificial intelligence (AI) is, one that is very popular and probably sticks the most is about Google’s AlphaGo beating Go world champion Ke Jie last year in China. For most, it’s the epitome of machines, thanks to AI, reaching the point when it can be smarter than humans.
However, what hasn’t been talked about much was the “pair Go” match that happened during the same event, where AlphaGo played alongside grandmasters, not against them. Thore Graepel, Research Lead at Google DeepMind, who paired with the AI system said AlphaGo “somehow raises [his] own game.” The same sentiment was shared by one of the Chinese grandmasters, Lian Xiao, “AlphaGo . . . gives me confidence. He helps me believe I should take the helm,” as reported on Wired.
The insights shared by the players on AlphaGo helping them better their game was actually a snippet of what’s to come next: AI augmenting and working together with human intelligence (HI), and humans finding the balance between the two.
Using AI to augment the business value chain
Businesses are already seeing the potential. A McKinsey & Co. survey of more than 3,000 AI-aware C-level executives around the world revealed that 20% said they currently use any AI-related technology at scale or in a core part of their businesses.
Majority (more than 60%) of business executives agree that AI can automatically augment processes and decision making across the business value chain, leading to increased productivity, and more effective decision making, respectively. Eventually, business executives see AI allowing humans to concentrate on meaningful work, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Adapting to an AI augmented environment
People losing jobs over robots has become a hot topic recently, when in general, technology has always been a game changer throughout history. It’s just today, the phase is faster and the reach wider. But humans have always found ways to adapt, and humans complementing and working alongside AI machines is the next frontier.
For this to happen, AI and its enabling technologies must not only be accessible to humans, but also, and more importantly, be comfortably operated by humans. In fact, Gartner predicted that by 2020, 20% of companies have dedicated workers to monitor and guide neural networks. Next year, more than 10% of IT hires in customer service are mostly going to write scripts for bot interactions—which can be possible given that chatbots and virtual personal assistants are already in use across industries.
Working together to uncover full potential
The ideal scenario is humans learning not only to live with, but also leverage AI to be more productive and innovative. In other words, not letting machines take over, but rather knowing how to make them work to uncover AI and HI partnership’s full potential—which is creating truly impactful products and services for society’s benefit.
To achieve this, it is important for companies to invest in training, so employees can develop their knowledge and expertise in working with AI technologies. Once they are comfortable working with “AI colleagues”, then they can explore the optimal way for them to work together. As a start, AI is already being used to streamline processes, find needle in the haystack of data, and automate repetitive tasks.
For instance, marketers are already leveraging AI-based platforms to optimize the customer journey. One of the key challenges in marketing is sifting through terabytes and petabytes of data to find useful information and uncover high-quality leads. With AI, it’s become easier and faster for marketers to crunch data and formulate insights into their targets. Let’s see how that works for marketers.
- Find and tune the ICP
The AI platform uses a diverse and comprehensive set of indicators to scan the database, identify and predict customers that have the highest likelihood to convert. Once it identifies the characteristics that separate actual customers from all leads in the database, the AI platform paints a picture of the ideal target—the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). With AI, marketers can easily create and modify the ICP depending on business goals and strategy.
- Run segmented campaigns
Knowing the ICP, the AI platform can then divide the target customers into segments and create customized campaigns accordingly. Having individualized approach per segment enables marketers to deliver what customers truly need and be more attuned with them. Being consistent across their buying journey increases brand recognition as well as loyalty.
- Jumpstart and enhance marketing strategy
Whether marketers need to optimize marketing spending, increase conversation rate, cross-sell and upsell, or empower sales, the AI platform is a one-stop shop that enriches every step of the buying process and provides a holistic view of all marketing activities happening throughout. Having access to this kind of data and metrics, marketers can be more agile in modifying their strategy to reflect present and predictive needs.
- Create new audiences
The great thing about AI is, it enables marketers to explore predictive audiences, helping them understand target audiences better, create lead or account lists, and see other green field accounts identified for them. With target audiences ready, the AI platform saves marketers time and energy when they refine their current strategy, or even create new ones for expanding into new customers and markets.
Combining what marketers gather from their interactions with customers in the field with AI’s power to process data and produce insights at scale and in-real time is a great AI and HI collaboration. Having this dynamic capability within arm’s reach, marketers can better focus and understand the right customers, and create more meaningful customer engagements through human interactions.
In fact, while AI help do things faster and better, humanizing brands and creating deeper connections with customers are always going to be the job of humans. Across the business value chain, exchanges between companies and customers happen all the time. And in today’s digital world, genuine and personalized relationships with customers to attract, engage, and retain them are the primarily goal of every business wanting to build and keep its competitive advantage.
Finding the balance between AI and HI makes for a win-win situation. In business, AI does most of the heavy lifting for tasks beyond human capabilities, and HI does the more valuable aspect of the job: Using creativity, judgement, and emotions to innovate and form long-lasting connections with people. In the words of Sandy Pentland, Toshiba Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT, “The human does the strategy, the machine does the tactics, and when you put them together you get a world-beater.”