After being afraid of animals, other humans and, in general, natural creations for a few thousand years, in the last century we started being afraid of our creations, be it machines, robots, or, more recently, artificial intelligence. It has a lot to do with the reasons behind other people creating them, which has many times been their personal gain or the sheer destruction of other humans, but it has also lots to do with our fear of the unknown.
Because, as much as we’d like to think we have control, artificial intelligence has never been used at its full potential. Looking closely, we can differentiate between three types of AI: narrow, general and super.
Narrow AI is artificial intelligence that is focused on one narrow task, almost every automation around us, taking 99% of all AI ever created by us. iPhone’s Siri would be a good example, an app operating within a limited pre-defined range of functions, with no genuine intelligence and no self-awareness.
It’s OK to be afraid of general AI, a system which is able to cope with any generalised task asked of it, much like a human, also possessing the cognitive abilities and general experiential understanding of its environments, but paired with the ability to process data at much greater speeds. Or isn’t it?
As always, the best thing when fighting our fears is gathering more information. Books like Steven Finlay’s Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for Business are both quick reads, but also great value. Or we could just dig deeper through the plethora of internet articles and videos.
Either way, after learning more about AI, we will understand better that the paradigm is not humans versus AI, but humans + AI. The partnership between humans and artificial intelligence, when applied to our industry of market research, will mean that we will lose a lot less time with our day to day processes. To offer just two examples, AI will help us by finding respondents faster and making sure they’re the people we want, or by improving your surveys continuously, but that’s still narrow AI. What will general and super AI mean for market research?
For one, AI will enhance the data quality we collect by analyzing open-ended text responses from across channels, conducting extensive secondary research like asking follow-up questions to the follow-up questions and will soon be smart enough to explain our findings. But there’s more. Another example would be the appearance of surveys spoken to a digital assistant, yielding higher data quality than typed surveys and offering a much better experience to the respondents.
What do you think? Will AI help us create more jobs than it deems obsolete and increase the size of the market research industry? Will it prove to be something we need to be afraid of, or an amazing opportunity?