I’ve seen enough movies to know that there is a solid fear of robots coming to replace us. Our jobs, our lives, our identities. While many of the popular films and shows that come out of Hollywood are just that- pure Hollywood- we can’t help but chuckle with unease as we hear yet another “I’ll be baahk” Terminator impression.
Advances in artificial intelligence are set to dramatically impact market research in the short term. Specifically, narrow AI will enable the automation of individual research tasks. During this phase of Intelligence Augmentation AI will act to augment the capabilities of researches; enabling one person to achieve what previously would have taken an entire team.
For decades, researchers have developed advanced methods which allow us to analyze quantitative data (think survey) in sophisticated ways; from clustering & factor models to predictive Bayesian analysis. Perhaps the largest impact AI is already having on market research is enabling these battle-tested quantitative methods to be used on data which is qualitative in nature — namely video, audio, and text.
Reimagining technology’s role in market research.
The question of what drives human emotion fixates marketers and market researchers alike. The answer would unlock tremendous, continuous market success. Market researchers inch closer to the elusive answer each year, and in the past decade have made the greatest strides by focusing on understanding consumer responses through the lens of non-conscious language. The concept is not a new one, having been thrust into discussion by the famous Sigmund Freud in his 1915 essay “The Unconscious.”
As I plunged into the MR world, after a decade of working on computational physics and artificial intelligence, the first thing that struck me was the tremendous amount of technological overhang. Meaning, the solutions dominating the market were laden with inefficiencies that current technology already had solutions to address. So, with a focus on artificial intelligence, I set out to break down the primary functions of market research and plot the trajectory that artificial intelligence (AI) fueled disruption was likely to take.
We set out with a goal to better understand what voters were thinking about the 2016 election. We wanted to have a conversation and not just look at survey data or analyze trending hashtags. So that’s exactly what we did. On the night of the January 17th democratic debate, we used Remesh to have a conversation with ~50 likely voters. The results were fascinating.