The War for Jobs Between AI & Humans Gets Personal


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Because we are in the business of predicting outcomes, it’s only natural that we apply the same philosophy of looking ahead when it comes to issues that will eventually impact our industry, and even the world at large. One such issue that has been buzzing about recently is the perceived threat of ROBOTS STEALING JOBS FROM HUMANS!

When put into the proper context, it seems only logical that artificial intelligence will continue to absorb jobs that, when automated, can produce the same or better outcomes. But fear not. With the moat between humans and robots continuing to shrink as algorithms and models advance the intelligence of machines, there remains a powerful defense that, quite possibly, may never be penetrated: personalization.

In today’s incredibly noisy business world where consumers often suffer from the paradox of choice, personalization is a point of differentiation that cannot be understated. In fact, 59% of customers say that personalization influences their shopping decisions [Infosys], and 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience [Forrester].

While some may argue that AI is perfectly capable of personalization, with their uncanny ability to scrub the social web, assemble your digital profile in seconds, and cater targeted offerings or services based on that profile, in many instances these intelligent data grabs only scratch the surface of personalization.

Personalization today requires something that machines are not yet capable of: empathy. When it comes to certain important life events (major purchases, financial decisions, etc.) humans simply feel more comfortable knowing that the entity on the other end of the line truly understands and can empathize with them.

This is why companies who have built their entire business models on top of an AI stack — think Robo Advisors — have started to add human supplements to their businesses. And it’s why we see so much success with clients who use our technology to match their customers with agents that they are the most likely to “click” with by tapping into a database comprised of 100 million personality profiles.

The fact is that even with companies like ours leading the way in speech recognition algorithms and training models to look at how you say things, rather than simply what you say, there’s still a very real need for a human to personalize and engage in order to create a truly great customer experience.

As our own David Gustafson recently noted in an article in, “What we’ve seen is that people buy from people they like. We track engagement during sales calls and what we’ve seen is that there is almost a perfect linear relationship between engagement and sales. When customers become more engaged with the experience, the sales go through the roof.”

Like the team here at Mattersight, world-renowned computer scientist, Alan Turing, was also obsessed with solving complex problems and predicting outcomes. In February 20, 1947, Turing gave a talk at the London Mathematical Society in which he declared, “What we want is a machine that can learn from experience.” Spot on! But another one of his predictions is equally intriguing.

Turing speculated that while computers will automate some jobs, it will also only augment others, saying, “The main bulk of the work done by these computers will however consist of problems which could not have been tackled by hand computing.”

And if there’s one thing us “hand computers” know how to do it’s how to personalize and empathize. So perhaps this shouldn’t be looked at as a battle to defend jobs, but rather an alliance that will enable us to do them better.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marcel Korst
Marcel Korst is VP of Product Marketing & CX Strategy at Mattersight where he leads product evangelization, analyst relations, competitive positioning and customer marketing. Prior to Mattersight, Korst spent 13 years at Microsoft, most recently as Director of Marketing & PR for Worldwide Customer Service & Support, where he led brand, product marketing, demand generation, marketing automation, PR and analyst relations.


  1. You’re right about this, Marcel. I think that’s the edge of humans over AI. We have emotions or empathy, critical thinking, and a whole lot of common sense. All those combined and we can personalize every possible attack or strategy to our goal. Sure, AIs can work more and faster but our customers are human. They would know if whatever information was fed to them is just a mere automation or with human intervention.


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