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Unartifical intelligence: humans know what GenAI doesn’t

Real problems, real people, real words

The other day, I asked that well known GenAI tool Chat GPT to provide me with quotes from industry leaders for a blog about ad testing that I was working on.

Of course,” it said helpfully, “here is a list of quotes from industry leaders about ad testing:

Top of that list was Mark Zuckerberg. Fantastic, I thought – who better to include as a thought leader in my report than the behemoth that is the Co-Founder and CEO of one of the biggest technology conglomerates in existence – although weird that he has such a strong opinion on ad testing…

Not quite believing my luck, I thought I’d better just check my sources.

And sure enough, Chat GPT’s response was “I apologise about this misunderstanding, these quotes were crafted to illustrate the kind of sentiments that industry leaders might express, but are not actual quotes from industry leaders”. Serves me right for trying to cheat my way around googling, I suppose.

But this idea that you can use GenAI to replace real human insight is something we’re seeing more and more in the research industry. Why bother spending the time and money to talk to real people, if you could just ask a computer to give you a rough idea of human sentiment? Well, the above anecdote is a pretty good reason in my opinion, but there is also so much richness in the words of real people that GenAI can’t really replicate.

Unartificial intelligence - the power of human insights
Unartificial intelligence in action

Market research uncovers the things you (or GenAI tools) don’t know

We spoke to IT decision makers from our Vanson Bourne Community and asked what issues, priorities and challenges they have on their agenda. If we’d asked GenAI, I’m sure there would have been some crossover in response. Plenty were focused on cybersecurity challenges, staffing levels and budget constraints, all things you’d expect an IT decision maker to be thinking about.

But would we have the richness from the IT decision maker who is going to spend his month “focusing on strengthening the security of our systems as we recently had a breach which unfortunately affected quite a few of our customers”?

Or would we understand that staffing levels are such an issue for one of our IT decision makers that they are “working most evenings and weekends to make up the shortfall”?

I’m sure GenAI could tell us how the upcoming general election or the current economic inflation is having an impact. But would it give us the human perspective behind it:

I think the biggest problem I have is how we can reduce costs, because productions costs are much higher than before due to the impact of inflation

[We’ll be] likely pausing activities due to the general election announcement, when there are high priority issues to be solved

And I’m confident that GenAI wouldn’t consider the person behind the organisation, offering you instead a list of dry issues and straight-to-the-point priorities. But when you are the person, it’s hard not to consider yourself in the bigger picture:

I don’t really have any issues or challenges. But I have a few priorities such as improving my work-life balance, taking my health more seriously (quitting some bad habits like junk food and exercising more frequently)

Work-life balance is my biggest concern this month as I’m going to be a father again in the next few months

It’s no replacement for real life conversations, but GenAI can still help

Of course, I’m not saying Chat GPT isn’t useful for research. I tried to use it to speed up my ad testing blog, so I’d be a hypocrite to say otherwise. All I’m saying is that there is no replacement for real life conversations with real life people to get you the rich context that is so important for quality insight.

To find out how we can help you speak to real life IT decision makers, get in touch today.

And good luck to that expectant dad – it sounds like you’ve got your priorities exactly where they need to be.