The Missing Link to AI-Driven Customer Intelligence: The Human Expert

“Computers are taking over the world!” This may have been a common phrase heard 20 years ago, or yesterday depending on what you read or who you talk to. And that might just be the case, however there is still a key humanistic component to every automated system and algorithm. Knowledge. Computers don’t get smart on their own. They need to be spoon fed data and be trained so they can make the best decisions and repeat the same action over and over.

Where computers differ from humans is their ability to learn faster and better. They don’t forget and they don’t make typos (except maybe those pesky autocorrect mishaps). Artificial Intelligence (AI) needs both humans and a significant amount of data to be successful. Without those components, an AI enabled device is just fancy hardware.

Humans are needed even more in environments where AI is churning through data and spitting out insights. I see two main areas where human input and reasoning is required to support AI:

System Training

Human experts are needed to train systems that are being driven by Machine Learning algorithms. For example, a Customer Intelligence solution that is stitching together fragments of customer data and identifying organizational relationships to build 360 profiles needs to be told and instructed on common matches and rules. Data stewards may make a few hundred decisions which the system then learns from and can in turn make thousands of decisions going forward as the system identifies similar patterns. Without the initial decisions and training by humans, the system would fail to scale and ‘understand’ new data inputs.

Acting on Insight

Humans are also needed to act on new customer insights identified by AI. Data scientists, marketers, sales teams, and customer support professionals need to be able to turn insights into actions. Data needs to be presented in ways that enable all users to act on it. The best algorithms cannot automatically display data in pretty charts and insightful dashboards. Through analytical and visualization tools, employees can understand and act on data. Humans need to understand how data will be used and set up tools to deliver insight in the ways in which each user needs to accomplish their individual goals.

Employees with skills in data and analytics are key to the success of businesses in nearly every industry these days. The influx of AI-driven solutions across many departments means there is more opportunity to put data-driven insights to work. And that requires humans with skills and domain knowledge.

So, if you are fearing your job will be taken away by a computer, think again. You may just make yourself an indispensable resource because of that smart computer.

Learn more about how Machine Learning is being leveraged for Customer Intelligence.