The AI-Analyst Hybrid and a New Freedom of Innovation

Aug 28, 2021 | AI and Big Data

As a Data Analyst, you’re the brains behind the operation. Your organization’s critical decisions depend on your unique grasp of the numbers – your sharp ability to distill the truth about customer experience. But do you ever feel like your talents are being wasted? …Like you’re spending WAY too much time on data crunching drudgery and less on letting the sparks of innovation fly?

You’ve heard it before: AI can free Data Analysts from data grunt work. But maybe you’re a bit reticent. Maybe you think that these tools are looking to replace you.  On the contrary, AI-powered analytics tools need you, just as you need them. And the Analyst-AI hybrid is the way of the future.

The emerging cyborg workplace

Ok, so you’re won’t be RoboCop exactly, but all signs point to a hybrid AI-human workplace. Gartner predicts that “by 2020, more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated” (Gartner, 2018).  That is only months away and is just the beginning. Of course, automation cannot happen on its own. A research paper by Microsoft claims that hybrid intelligence will be best achieved by building AI-human teamwork into AI systems that treat humans as partners (International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 2016).  The magic happens when powers are combined.

“Human plus machine equals superpowers”

Accenture’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, and co-author of the book Machine + Human, asserts that “human plus machine equals superpowers.”  In an interview, last year, Paul Daugherty said that:

“The reality is not the replacement of the person with the machine, but how the two come together in collaboration. In fact, I think that the phrase artificial intelligence is misleading, and one that I am starting to use a lot now is ‘collaborative intelligence’, where we take the increased intelligence that we can gain from AI tools and pair that with human intelligence. So the real question is how do you put the two together?” (Engineering & Technology, 2018)

Great question, Paul!  In short, by making sure that both machines and humans do what they do best.

Why you need AI

Speed, precision and endurance are best left to machines. Don’t take this the wrong way, but AI can crunch the numbers faster than you. We don’t have to tell you: there’s just so damn much of the stuff now! In its review of top strategic technology trends for 2019, Gartner writes that businesses are now at a risk of missing key insights because data scientists are at maximum capacity in the face of data overload.  “Given the amount of data, exploring all possibilities becomes impossible” (Gartner, 2018).

“Given the amount of data, exploring all possibilities becomes impossible.”

AI-powered solutions perform tasks in hours that would take teams of human analysts weeks to execute. Semantic analytics tools like Semeon collect raw data from structured and unstructured sources, rapidly classify the information and interpret their meaning. They can easily structure and categorize insights to suit your needs and filter them based on any criteria. Semeon, in particular, segments and analyzes customer sentiment along the customer journey and represents it visually in concept clouds so you can easily do what you do best.

Why AI needs you

Creativity, leadership and emotional intelligence are yours alone.  In its report on the value of AI, PwC notes that “as adoption of AI gathers pace, the value of skills that can’t be replicated by machines is also increasing” (PcW, 2017).  By letting the analytics tools organize the numbers, you can make sense of customer insights with intelligence and originality.

“Creativity, leadership and emotional intelligence are yours alone.”

Your boss recognizes your essential qualities as well as you.  In a survey of 1,000 US business executives implementing AI, PcW found that 38% believed AI would increase their workforce compared to 19% who thought it might lead to redundancies (PcW, 2019).  The learning curve is steep, but organizations are figuring out that they need to shift gears.  Many are listening to people like Gartner’s VP of Research, who urges organizations to invest in employees “to develop both their creative and analytical thinking skills as AI implementation requires both” (Gartner, 2017).

“38% of business executives believed AI would increase their workforce compared to 19% who thought it might lead to redundancies”

The future is hybrid – it’s about augmentation, not replacement. While sci-fi dystopian fantasies want to freak us out (we’re looking at you, RoboCop), AI-human collaborations are not threatening to the world or your job. With the support of your organization, teaming up with AI will free you to lead strategy and ignite innovation. Let the sparks fly!

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