AI: More than just a chat tool - with Chris Robson

In this podcast, Michael Howard chats Chris Robson, Senior Director of Global Data Science at Human8. A visionary AI and data scientist, Robson emphasizes the need to view AI beyond just a chat tool, urging the market research and insights industry to explore its broader capabilities.


During our discussion, Chris highlights the limitations of thinking about AI applications in market research as as a standalone chat-based solution - and encourages insights professionals to shift focus toward employing tailored AI in more portions of their workflow. He says "If we're going get serious about using AI either as individuals or as an industry, we need to look beyond chat."

The discussion delves into practical tips for unlocking AI's full potential, including defining the steps needed to achieve desired outcomes. Chris illustrate the concept of workflows, emphasizing breaking down tasks into steps and using AI technology along the way to achieve specific goals while considering the overall processes and objectives. He describes workflows as: "What are all the things that have to happen? How do they have to happen? And when you do that, what you can start doing is you can start to say, 'Okay, now, so that's how we would work with another human being.'"

The conversation continues to explore AI's strengths in tasks such as summarization and pattern recognition, highlighting the potential for AI to excel in handling large datasets efficiently. "It's excellent at summarizing and extracting meaning from data. Generally, one of the things we do is we work a lot with click stream data, the data that's gathered when you click through websites and things like that, asking AI to summarize what's going on with a ton of data is incredibly powerful."

The discussion touches on the need for companies, especially in the insights industry, to embrace coding or collaborate with partners who possess coding expertise. Chris  emphasizes that coding skills are essential to fully leverage AI technologies and build robust workflows. "Either you have to be coding or you have to have a close partner who's coding."

Like our team at Infotools, Chris believes in the continued importance of humans in market research, even with the rise of technologies like AI. He envisions a shift in the nature of tasks, requiring professionals to be more strategic, consultative, and focused on storytelling. We talk more about the evolving landscape of market research jobs and roles as technology advances. He stresses the need for adaptability, flexibility, and staying informed in an ever-changing environment.

Chris emphasizes the necessity of navigating these changes mindfully, including the importance of ongoing discussions, particularly on ethical considerations and biases. Chris encourages people in the market research sector to contribute to focused discussions and address the real challenges ahead.


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