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Artificial Intelligence (AI)

By 1 June 2023June 12th, 2023Blog, Insights

Friend or Foe? – Help or hindrance for the Market Research industry?

AI is certainly a hot topic at the moment – the buzz word of the 2020’s if you like.  Various companies including BT have announced job cuts (BBC News 19/05/23) relating to AI which it is reported that up to a fifth of its workforce could be replaced by AI.  In contrast, some big guns from the American journalism industry, Carl Bernstein and Robert Woodward, have recently been outspoken about the limitations in AI on other sectors.  More interestingly, Sam Altman the CEO of OpenAI has called on the US to bring in some regulation on AI and there have been some similar calls on the UK side of the Atlantic.

So, the future of artificial intelligence (AI) holds immense potential and is likely to impact various aspects of our lives. While it’s challenging to predict the exact course of AI’s development, here at Launchpad we’ve been looking at some key trends and possibilities for its future:

1.  Advancements in Deep Learning: Deep learning, a subset of AI, has achieved remarkable progress in recent years. It involves training neural networks with large amounts of data to make accurate predictions or classifications. The future of AI will likely involve further advancements in deep learning algorithms, enabling more sophisticated and precise AI models.

2.  Increased Automation: AI-powered automation is expected to continue expanding across industries. Routine tasks, such as data entry, customer support, and administrative duties, can be automated, freeing up human resources for more complex and creative work. This automation can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and enhance productivity.

3.  Enhanced Natural Language Processing (NLP): NLP enables machines to understand and interpret human language. Future developments in NLP could lead to improved conversational AI systems, virtual assistants, and language translation tools. These advancements may enable more natural and context-aware interactions between humans and AI.

4.  Expansion of AI in Healthcare: AI has the potential to transform healthcare by improving diagnostics, drug discovery, personalised medicine, and patient care. AI algorithms can analyse medical data, images, and genetic information to assist doctors in making more accurate diagnoses and treatment decisions. Additionally, AI-powered robotic systems may play a role in surgeries and healthcare delivery.

5.  Ethical Considerations and Regulation: As AI becomes more powerful and pervasive, ethical considerations surrounding privacy, bias, accountability, and transparency become crucial. Governments and organisations are likely to implement regulations and guidelines to ensure responsible and ethical AI development and usage.

6.  AI and Robotics Integration: The synergy between AI and robotics can lead to advancements in autonomous systems, robotic process automation, and robotic companions. Robots with AI capabilities may be utilised in manufacturing, logistics, caregiving, and exploration, among other fields.

7.  AI for Sustainability: AI can contribute to sustainability efforts by optimising energy usage, managing resources more efficiently, and facilitating environmental monitoring and conservation. AI-enabled systems can help in climate modelling, renewable energy management, and smart grid optimisation.

8.  Continued Research and Breakthroughs: AI is an evolving field, and ongoing research is likely to yield new breakthroughs and paradigm shifts. Areas such as explainable AI, transfer learning, quantum machine learning, and AI for social good are gaining attention and may shape the future of AI.

It’s important to consider the ethical, social, and economic implications of AI’s widespread adoption. Responsible development, addressing biases, ensuring transparency, and considering the impact on jobs and society are critical aspects that need attention as AI advances.

Experts have issued warnings with a caveat that there are still things AI aren’t capable of – tasks which humans are distinctly good at – emotional intelligence and outside-the box-thinking.  Three general categories which potentially exist are:

1) Ones which are genuinely creative and require less formulaic work or just rearranging sets of data

2) Jobs which require sophisticated interpersonal relationships such as nurses, consultants, investigative journalists and working with consumers on an emotional level

3) Jobs which require a lot of mobility especially in unpredictable environments such as tradespeople for example.

Ultimately, the future of AI will be influenced by ongoing research, technological advancements, ethical considerations, and societal needs. It will require collaboration between researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders to maximise the benefits and  minimise potential risks associated with AI. The chart below may look a little unsettling at first glance but where jobs are at risk there are potential new ones not included in some of the numbers i.e. AI support, machine development and maintenance etc.


So, we’re not all going to be replaced by a computer tomorrow (we’ve seen these scenarios played out in science fiction for decades), but certainly one to keep an eye on and at Launchpad we will be following it closely.

The effects on Market Research:

While artificial intelligence (AI) has made some advancements in various research fields, there are certain aspects that AI cannot fully replace. Here are a few key areas where human researchers continue to play a crucial role:

1.  Creativity and Innovation: AI excels at analysing vast amounts of data and identifying patterns, but it lacks the ability to generate truly novel ideas or think outside the box. Creativity, imagination, and the ability to make intuitive leaps are aspects of human intelligence that remain unparalleled.

2.  Contextual Understanding: AI algorithms are highly specialized and excel in specific domains, but they struggle to comprehend complex contexts or draw connections across disparate fields. Human researchers possess a broader understanding of the world, enabling them to make connections, consider multiple perspectives, and apply knowledge from diverse disciplines.

3.  Ethical Considerations: AI systems operate based on predefined algorithms and data inputs, which means they cannot autonomously make ethical judgments or navigate nuanced moral dilemmas. Researchers, on the other hand, can take into account ethical considerations, consider the potential consequences of their work, and ensure responsible and accountable research practices.

4.  Intuition and Insight: Human researchers often rely on their intuition and deep domain expertise to formulate research questions, design experiments, and interpret results. They can develop a “gut feeling” or hunch that guides their exploration and investigation, something that AI currently cannot replicate.

5.  Social and Emotional Intelligence: Research is not conducted in isolation; it involves collaborations, interactions, and engagements with other researchers and stakeholders. Human researchers possess social and emotional intelligence, enabling effective communication, collaboration, and understanding of the broader social and cultural implications of their work.

6. Adaptability and Flexibility: Research often involves unexpected challenges, changing circumstances, and the need to adapt methodologies or approaches. Humans are inherently flexible and can quickly adapt to new situations, adjust research strategies, and come up with alternative plans, whereas AI systems are limited by their programmed algorithms and require human intervention to make significant changes.

While AI can assist researchers by automating certain tasks, augmenting their capabilities, and providing valuable insights, the inherent qualities of human intelligence make researchers indispensable for various aspects of the research process.