Insight Economy 2019

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R A C O N T E U R . N E T 15 Automating insight generation is not only saving market research professionals time and money, it off ers the opportunity to fi nd patterns in data at a scale never before possible Automated insights off er more than just speed ccording to Josh Sutton, chief executive at Agorai: "Artifi cial intelligence (AI) solutions are producing insights in seconds that used to take teams of people days or even weeks to produce. Early adopters are seeing fi nancial benefi ts already." The main metrics for success are a reduction in insight time, followed by decreases in labour demands and over- all expense. Mr Sutton adds: "McKinsey recently produced a report which states that over the next decade, early adop- ters of AI will dramatically outperform followers and laggards." 2019 is the year that AI was tipped to take over from automation in market research, but seven months in, has AI lived up to its potential? "We are now at a point in time that is reminiscent of the mid-1990s, when the early winners of the in- ternet were those who identifi ed opportunities and experimented to address business problems," says Chris Duff ey, strategic development manager at Adobe and author of Su- perhuman Innovation. "AI is making people better at their jobs in three ways: automation of tasks that can help a person perform their job more eff ectively; the abil- ity to generate insights from large amounts of data; and ability to ena- ble interactions with technology via natural-language conversations," says Mr Sutton. Automation, insight generation and natural-language processing enable businesses to survey the market continually, rather than dedicating specifi c time, labour and money to the process. An advantage of using AI in mar- keting research is the insight time involved in creating an overview of consumer needs is cut down enor- mously. Mr Sutton adds: "When AI is used to understand the comprehen- sive picture painted by all the data available via social media, people's movements, behaviours that can be observed and the corresponding actions taken, we are seeing fi rms develop insights which give them a better picture than they have ever been able to generate." Using AI also means data can be digested in real time. David Benig- son, chief executive and co-founder of Signal AI, says this has a power- ful impact. "The Washington Post alone publishes over 1,000 articles or news stories a day. If a human being read nothing else, they would still struggle to get through just that one newspaper. Signal's AI reads 2.7 million sources a day and over fi ve million documents are analysed in less than two seconds. Our clients fi nd that two-hour tasks now take ten minutes," he says. Those are some very appealing num- bers for companies looking to decrease insight time. But AI learns from human beings, so are there possible pitfalls for a system working at a speed so far be- yond human intelligence? "Superintelligence is a notion that is often represented in movies as an anthropomorphised robotic AI sys- tem with an exponential increase of intelligence over humans," says Mr Duff ey. "However, unlike science fi c- tion, when we talk about modern AI, we're in fact talking about narrow AI, which means AI that's designed to perform a task." It seems that while A I in mar- keting research is currently able to unear th, read and ana lyse data far more quick ly than human be- ings, it currently lacks the cre- ativity to dea l with unforeseen obstacles in its path and change course accordingly. "The ability to extract real in- sights from written comments is a great example of how AI in market- ing research can improve insight time," says Mr Sutton. "Firms that used to rely on a staff of analysts to review consumer feedback can now see key themes people care about in real time. Over 80 per cent of the data produced every day is unstruc- tured – written feedback, photos and so on – and this data is not be- ing used by AI solutions to provide real insights in a way that wasn't possible without AI." Harnessing this unused data to cre- ate a continuous big picture of cus- tomer insights can alert marketing teams to patterns and trends sooner than traditional methods, helping fi rms stay on top of consumer needs. AI is potentially a very useful tool, but it still requires extensive guidance to thrive. This trade-off is already worth it, says Mr Benigson. "At Signal, for example, clients can train the AI to their bespoke speci- fi cations in just a few hours, in eff ect digitising their knowledge for the long term. If you're saving an hour a day, you're already in credit after just a week," he says. That's a vast improvement on insight time using traditional methods. When looking to the future of AI in marketing research, it's important to understand how AI and human be- ings can work in harmony, each aug- menting the other's strengths. "AI excels at storing and remem- bering huge amounts of data and making very complex calculations based on those data sets," says Mr Duff ey. "People are extraor- dinarily skilled at social interac- tions and complex tasks, critical thinking and creativity. Keep this in mind." What could this combination of hu- man and AI skills achieve? "Trained AI can also go beyond what a human can do by fi nding the connections in the data at a scale that would be practically impossible for a human," adds Mr Be- nigson. "In eff ect, it can help us under- stand not just the known unknowns, but the unknown unknowns, the things we didn't know we didn't know." With the promise of such boundless possibility, the advantages of using AI in marketing research to reduce insight time are clear and very exciting. Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash Suchandrika Chakrabarti A A R T I F I C I A L I N T E L L I G E N C E Qualtrics 2018 AI will have a positive effect on the market research industry AI survey data will be more accurate than it is today AI will reduce the number of market research jobs WHAT MARKE T RESE ARCH PROFES SIONAL S THINK ABOU T ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Percentage of market research decision-makers who agree with the following statements AI solutions are producing insights in seconds that used to take teams of people days or even weeks to produce. Early adopters are seeing fi nancial benefi ts already 80% 75% 35% AI is an opportunity for the market research industry 93%

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