How will increasingly-smarter machines impact insights generation?

Our Director Geoff Lowe recently participated in the Festival of NewMR, talking about the current and future role of machines in market research.

Last month, our Director, Geoff Lowe, participated in the Festival of NewMR, talking about the current and future role of machines in market research. This topic becomes even more relevant in many ways, as much of the globe is turning to increased technology use to connect, work, and socialize in the time of COVID-19. 

Machines and artificial intelligence are also being employed in new ways to track and analyze the novel coronavirus's trajectory and make predictions about what's to come. Geoff wrote an article for Greenbook, Transitioning to a Machine-Driven Future in Market Research, about this topic, giving market researchers some context about the role of machines in insights generation.

Humans indeed have some skills that machines haven’t mastered yet, including being creative. Creativity is made of two main parts: “big picture thinking” and “placing things in context,” Geoff states. But this skill may not always be solely in the human-driven realm. Change can happen quickly when it comes to machines, and it may only be a matter of time before they master some key creative concepts. Geoff says, “machines are going to start to apply what appears to be creativity when it comes to processing data. I maintain that we need to be aware that transitioning to that future will have many implications for the people in the industry.”

While predicting the future is an imperfect science, moving to a machine-driven future in our industry may not be too far away. As we are well aware, it is already happening with wider spread implementation of automation and out-of-the-box applications of AI. Some think a bigger shift toward reliance on machines could happen within five years, and we should not focus on competing with the “robots” but instead find the efficiencies when it comes to integrating machines into our daily jobs. Their ability for high volume data processing alone proves that machines are an inevitable part of the future. 

Machines are invaluable to us today, especially during the time of COVID-19. We have to stay informed on the continuous announcements, and without technology it would be nearly impossible to stay current with data surrounding the pandemic. These applications alone provide a glimpse of what tomorrow may have in store. Geoff writes that “the market research industry promises to continue moving toward the future with further applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other technology.” It is key that humans and machines find a harmonious way to coexist to reach the full potential for uncovering valuable insights.

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