Way before we had Siri and Google’s self-driving cars, sci-fi writers were thrilling and terrifying us about machines taking over the world. The dire threats issued by the likes of Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke are reaffirmed by modern warnings from great technological minds including Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking. Start talking about Artificial Intelligence, or AI, in a workplace, and you’ll soon hear mumblings of how computers are slated to take all our jobs and leave us homeless, jobless, and penniless.
AI Isn’t Good at the Stuff People Excel At
But marketers shouldn’t buy into the sci-fi version of AI, at least, not just yet. Currently, computers don’t have what it takes to take over our jobs, let alone the world. As it happens, humans and machines are good at drastically different things, and complement one another quite nicely, thanks very much. Here’s why you can relax and use the latest lead generation and marketing automation tools with absolute ease, comfort, and peace of mind.
Computers excel at finding hidden patterns and correlations that the human brain could never decipher. The main reason is because the human mind can’t hold on to and process that much data and that many variables at once. Humans are fabulous at studying a single factor, but as more elements are introduced into the equation, our ability to hang onto all the pieces quickly falls away. Computers, on the other hand, have no trouble storing massive volumes of data (so long as you stick in enough storage) and processing it to find patterns and correlations (as long as you cram in enough CPU power). So, they can’t decide that you need to do more lead generation, but they can study the data to determine the best ways to do so.
But computers are utterly useless when it comes to making sense out of anything that doesn’t require such direct, straightforward processing. For instance, humans are far better at detecting what’s fashionable or what is culturally acceptable. A computer is currently being taught to detect beauty, but that study is being done in Switzerland. Hence, the data will be meaningless in detecting what’s beautiful by the standards of Asian people, African people, or Westerners.
People & Machines Make Each Other Better
Unless technology takes a radical turn very quickly, it’s unlikely we will see the era in which computers can take over for humans completely, snatching the job of lead generation right out of the marketer’s hands. Pedro Domingos, a professor of data science for the University of Washington, eloquently stated, “People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.” Take a gander at how unreliable Google’s directions to your friend’s wedding venue are, or how grossly Siri sometimes misunderstands your inquiries, and it’s easy to chuckle at computers trying to do the marketer’s job.
In fact, since computers and people are good at such different things, they actually make excellent companions. For example, you decide you need to ask the data the best places to generate new leads, and the computer analyzes the millions of data points you’ve accumulated to find the answer. You and your marketing analytics are like peas and carrots. One just isn’t right without the other.
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