Blog The Future of Market Research: AI or Human Intellect?

The Future of Market Research: AI or Human Intellect?

Market research has been a critical tool for businesses seeking to understand consumer behaviour, and develop business ideas based on the research for growth. Earlier human-centric methods involving a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods such as surveys, data recordings and focus groups were used. However, with the revolutionary growth of AI the landscape of market research has become a new phenomenon. With the emergence of AI market tools, the wide playing ground of research has become a new game altogether. The pace with which AI is transforming the playing field raises the question: What does the future of market research look like—AI-driven or human expertise?

Do we need AI tools?

With the emergence of new AI tools, market research has seen an outpouring of content that has swamped every inch of reading, and viewing space. We are getting carried away by the lure of AI tools. The question here is do we need them? What about the human touch or the human expertise? Where does the creativity of the human mind factor in all the machinated tools that regurgitate every microsecond? Do we understand what these AI tools are?

Not long ago, tools were meant to be simple implements that took care of our daily needs. Now, AI tools are trying to mimic the human mind. AI has made significant inroads into market research, bringing with it a host of capabilities that are revolutionizing the field. Machine learning algorithms can process vast amounts of data at unprecedented speeds identifying patterns and processes that would have been impossible for humans to take on. Artificial intelligence-powered tools can automate repetitive tasks, such as collecting data and conducting initial analysis. This frees up human researchers to concentrate on more intricate and imaginative aspects of research. Predictive analytics, which AI enhances, can predict market trends accurately, assisting businesses in making well-informed decisions and staying competitive.

In short, AI helps generate synthetic data that cuts down on time and budget. Then we could ask ourselves is primary research still necessary? Where or when does human intervention happen?

The strengths of Human expertise

Generative AI tools are not yet calibrated to work with the latest data. ChatGPT for instance relies on data up until the latest 2023. They are not programmed to search and deliver results like Google or any of the search engines.

AI acts only in a rational manner. Emotions irrational responses or gaps in patterns cannot be detected by AI. To predict the unknown, and understand human emotions at play, primary research or human intervention or expertise comes into play. Primary research is vital to complement synthetic data and guide business decisions. Synthetic data lacks nuance and comes with a lot of biases.

This reminds me of a recent interaction with a friend whose child used ChatGPT to write an essay. The girl asked ChatGPT to write a short story about a cat. ChatGPT spun an elaborate tale of a cat that could talk, solve crimes, and even play cricket. Priya, amused, turned in the story. When her teacher returned the graded essay, she commented, “A very imaginative story, Priya. Next time, try not to outsource to ChatGPT, especially for your cricket references!” Priya’s friends couldn’t stop teasing her about her “detective cricket cat.”

While ChatGPT and AI tools offer valuable assistance, they can't replace the depth, richness, and authenticity of human creativity and perception. Balancing technology use with meaningful human connections is the need of the day. That leaves me to once again question the need for AI in our lives.

Do we really need ChatGPT in our lives? We questioned the presence of Google and other search engines, and time showed us that we cannot do without Google anymore. Is it now the turn of ChatGPT?


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