We Are Not Robots: 5 Ways Leading Companies Combine AI and Human Intelligence

This article by Inga Romanoff, Chief Executive Officer, Romanoff Consultants, explores how the union of AI and human ingenuity will help today’s marketers leap forward.

This article was originally posted on MarTech Advisor

Before long, AI will touch all parts of commercial business. From speech processing, to image recognition, self-driving cars, to custom experiences and product pricing, AI will help humans and businesses alike have a better buying experience. According to a talk from IBM Watson, “AI helps businesses find relevance at scale; it can help you send the right message to the right person at the right time”.

The pervasive fear however, is that AI will replace humans altogether. A recent report from Mckinsey sates that 50% of current work activities can be automated by existing technology, and that in 60% of jobs, one third of the activities can be automated.

Will this be our future? The reality of the matter is, artificial intelligence can greatly help humans improve their jobs, take over tasks that are tedious and mundane, and can help humans move into newer, more strategic roles. This blog post will explore the union of AI and human ingenuity that will help today’s businesses leap forward.

Teaming Up With AI for a Better Customer Experience

Artificial intelligence is making leaps and bounds when it comes to customer experience. Large websites can attract millions of visitors a day, with each visit representing an entirely different composite of a user. By unifying machine learning with strategic human decision-making, brands can create dramatically better customer experiences for people perusing the site. New technology can leverage AI to connect large datasets with actionable insights – analyzing visitors’ needs and interests and loading personalized pages in real time.

One perfect example is how The North Face teamed up with IBM Watson to create a personalized online sales experience on their website. Driven by a series of quick-answer digital questions, the AI-powered website recommends specific weather apparel that may be “high-match” or “low-match” based on the customer’s preference.

Spotify is another brand who exemplifies AI-driven personalization – their “Discover Weekly” song playlists are put together regularly by a combination of machine learning and human curation.

AI and Sales

Human and AI unification goes beyond customer experience and can lend a hand in the sales realm. Salesforce.com recommends salespeople to “make AI your admin”, referring to the idea that artificial intelligence can take care of the laborious administrative tasks that sales hates.

According to Victor Belfor, SVP of Partnerships at Conversica, “Anything that can be automated should be automated, not because AI is cheap, but because there are a multitude of ways AI is better than humans.”

AI excels in helping sales with “prospecting prioritization”. The ever-growing amount of data and options makes it difficult for salespeople to know where to start. By weaving together data points and machine learning algorithms, AI can help determine the industry, company, and person to reach out to at the right time. AI can be instructed to use pattern recognition, pulling similarities and trends from the marketplace and customer base to identify when which prospects would be most receptive to sales and a where there are possibilities for high value projects.

Predictive analytics is a subset of AI that can determine when prospects have a high propensity to buy based on certain market or triggering factors. For example, has the company just had an injection of cash from a fundraising round? Has the organization recently experienced an executive shake-up? These can be good indicators of a potential buying situation. According to Marketo, “AI-powered platforms are not only capable of collecting and aggregating marketing metrics – they empower people to draw meaningful analytics and applications out of that data and apply it to being more personal with their customers.”

Great AI and sales unification can also manifest in a more futurist way: Chatbots. Chatbots are automated instant message windows that give the appearance of intelligent, human conversation. Based on visits to certain pages, and other prospect behaviors, chatbots can offer timely assistance or ask leading questions, all with the end-goal of coordinating a sales demonstration with a salesperson. The entire process of qualifying and meeting scheduling can be automated, and is a perfect example of how both sales and AI can work together for better results.

AI and operations

How can AI help with business operations? The answer lies in the question: what repetitive tasks are done over and over again with certainty? For example: are there business processes that are executed every week, based on the same data sources? Employee timesheets, expense reports, or daily business operations reports are all great candidates for AI automation.

How does this help the working professional? By eliminating much of the time consuming work, operations people can take a more strategic role, and work on larger problems to drive revenue or cut costs.  According to HBR, “robots can act like a human inputting and consuming information from multiple IT systems, including transferring data, replacing lost cards, reconciling failures across systems, and reading legal and contractual documents using natural language processing.”

AI can also greatly impact the sectors of transportation and manufacturing. Automated programs are able take control of vehicles to transport people, and to take over assembly line tasks that are usually handled by people. This covers the introduction of self-driving cars and delivery trucks, as well as AI-driven factories. Humans however, are still critical in this process as the primary strategic thinkers and trainers. By removing humans from the manual work, we free up time for them to devise new ideas of improvement, better service, and the overall betterment of work.

AI and employee engagement

Engaged employees lead to more productive days and better service for customers.

But how can AI help with this? It comes down to the notion that there is too much data for humans to analyze and comprehend, which includes an overflow of information on employee actions and how they work. According to HR technologist – AI is “the next frontier for human resources and employee experiences”. AI can analyze large amounts of data and preemptively identify employee issues before they turn into major problems, such as meltdowns at work or burn-out.

AI can also be used to figure out how to better compensate, reward, or even promote employees. By combining organizational data combined with industry statistics, AI can find out what employees prefer in terms of employer benefits. Is it more money? Better health insurance? On-site perks or work-from-home days? AI can also help by figuring out if employees would be better suited for a different position, and managers can take that data and promote or transfer employees to a place where they can excel.

To sum things up, the future of work lies at the intersection of AI and human ingenuity. The rapid advances in technology and talent will undoubtedly provide a better experience for both employees and customers, and pull the marketplace into a new technological era.