26th July 2018

Why AI should complement not replace humans

So, the writing is on the wall for us humans and robots will soon be replacing us. This is according to the numerous reports and studies which are all predicting an impending dystopian future.

According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers on automation in the workplace, as many as 30% of jobs in the UK, 38% of jobs in the US, 35% of jobs in Germany, and 21% of jobs in Japan are at risk of being replaced by machine-based automation by the early 2030s.

The end is nigh right? Well not exactly…

There is certainly no disputing that AI adoption is only set to increase within sectors such as marketing (research by Retaildive shows that 86% of marketers plan to use it soon). AI is not all chatbots and games, it can improve audience segmentation and target more accurately ad messages, create product-pricing models and direct customers through your website, and it can even write content (thanks to tools like Curata and WordAI).

However, despite the projections, AI has its limitations and although it will help to compliment and, in some cases, improve the efficiency of humans, it can’t compete with areas such as logical intuition, innovation and empathy.

While AI has the ability to learn from and take on the characteristics of humans to become as lifelike as possible, machine learning does not have the ability to fully understand human emotions and the vagaries of conversations. Think about the last time you called a brand; did you want to speak with a computerised voice or a human?

As humans we crave interactions with others and particularly in industries such as customer service, we want to speak to someone on the other end of the phone who will be empathetic to our situation. Yes, there are many instances when chatbots are a great asset to brands, but these tend to be focussed around fact finding enquiries from consumers such as ‘what time does the store open?’ or ‘how much is this product?’. In these instances, AI works because the end user is looking for a logical and rational answer.

There’s no arguing that AI is ideal for taking on certain tasks. In fact, it’s probably better than humans, since machine-level consistency is usually prized in mass production. However, human ingenuity still has, and will always have, a place.

There is no doubting the potential of AI to revolutionise the way in which brands connect with consumers. Across the board we are seeing this new kind of technology enhancing human interaction, rather than replacing it all together. So yes, the robots are coming, but we’ll be there too.