Lessons from the Great Depression downgrade the artificial intelligence hype

Technologists project that artificial intelligence will replace nearly half of all jobs overArtificial-Intelligence-Bizagi@03x the next decade. Automation eliminates tedious tasks and makes the world of big data more manageable. In an effort to cut costs wherever possible, it is without question that artificial intelligence will disrupt several industries. Although, by choosing technology over human interaction, companies are damaging the foundation on which great businesses are built.

The financial markets reflect the early victors in the artificial intelligence wave, with five of the six market cap leaders being built on the basis of this technology. Aside from Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook, competitors that have fallen behind must find an alternative way to regain market share. So how can these companies set themselves apart from the crowd?

During the economic downturn of the Great Depression, a select few companies realized the importance of human connection to their brands. Kellogg was at the forefront of this realization as they bested C.W. Post in food manufacturing. Like most companies during the Great Depression, C.W. Post cut their advertisement budget as thin as possible. On the other hand, Kellogg nearly doubled their advertisement exposure. When the economy stabilized, consumer loyalty remained with Kellogg and allowed them to become the industry’s dominant player. The companies that not only survived but also thrived during the Great Depression never stopped appealing to human emotion.

kelloggPredictive analytics suggests that we can tell consumers what they want to know based on their habits. This provides another way for companies to cut spending as they attempt to understand their customers. However, learning from the mistakes of the Great Depression, the most successful companies will not be blinded by the promise of artificial intelligence. Market leaders will have the insight to balance the tech side of things and human tendencies. So are we really on the trajectory where algorithms could better satisfy the customer experience? While algorithms will certainly streamline business functions, it will be impossible to replace extraordinary people that make great businesses possible.


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