Ask not what AI can do for you, but what you can do for AI. While JFK certainly did not have AI on his mind during his 1961 inaugural address, his sentiment was very influential and has incredible applications, even today, particularly when it comes to technology.

 

AI can do a lot for individuals and organizations alike. At Cogito, we know that AI has the power to improve customer satisfaction and empower employees. AI can help create the type of emotional connections consumers crave. At the same time, AI is powerless if we don’t take the time to teach and work with it to make it smarter. AI cannot operate in a vacuum and requires the guidance and partnership of human intelligence to provide the best outcomes. Technology creators bear this responsibility and must ensure the ethical use of AI so that it delivers positive outcomes to customers, employees, customers’ customers and brands as a whole.

This idea of AI + human IQ was a theme that has permeated my discussions with leading companies, partners and investors and was a major discussion topic at our Customer Engagement in the Age of AI Symposium. We were truly honored to have some of the best and brightest thought leaders in AI and some of our valued customers join us in Boston to discuss the latest advancements in AI and machine learning. Together, we examined how best to implement this technology in conjunction with human acumen to adapt to the rapidly changing needs of modern consumers and employees, as well as how emerging technology is delivering deeper customer insights and augmenting teams to drive more sales, greater loyalty and improved health outcomes. In a world where experience is paramount, better machine-human collaboration has never been more important.

In addition to this fundamental idea, here are the top three themes that have been consistently surfacing and we explored during our symposium:

 

Human Performance

Many of our customers turn to Cogito to help them transform their culture and improve employee engagement. Our AI software has the power to enhance human performance, making employees more confident and satisfied in the office, which in turn drives a more positive company culture. Specifically, AI can help identify how an individual is performing so that supervisors can implement personalized training that will heighten individual performance. Doing so can help supervisors coach the high performers to be more consistent and the low performers to perform better.

Specifically, an executive from a large insurance company talked about how, since the time Cogito was deployed, employee turnover at the company has decreased from 40 percent to 24 percent. When employees perform well and are able to create meaningful connections with customers, brand satisfaction increases as well.

 

Customer Experience

Bill Patterson, EVP & GM, Service Cloud, Salesforce said it best: “today, the product is the service and the service is the product.” Experience is quickly increasing as a leading company differentiator. And it’s a powerful variable. It has been repeatedly proven that customers decide to remain loyal after a good experience and are willing to switch after just a single bad one.

As such, organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience and, in many cases, are using AI to help aid them on their experience journey. Specifically, AI can be used to help make customer experiences (CX) more empathetic. As Dr. Kjell Carlsson, senior analyst at Forrester pointed out at the event, emotion is the number one driver of CX, above ease and effectiveness. This means we need to approach CX with an empathy-first mindset that can only be delivered through augmented intelligence – or the combining of AI with human intelligence to create the most meaningful experiences.

 

The Future of AI is Augmented

Everyone agrees that while AI is powerful, its value will only be realized if it’s deployed in the manner in which it was intended. The first step is getting a handle on what AI is and is not, and coming to a common definition for the technology. AI is most successful when used as a tool. AI is not a replacement for humans and struggles immensely with general human-like judgement. In fact, there is no technology that can think like a human – another theme that underscored the symposium. AI can be a good complement for humans, delivering difficult to detect human insights and accelerating standard processes that in turn, deliver more value. This is why augmented intelligence is the next wave of AI — AI is much more successful at helping humans, when humans engage with the technology.

We must remember that if we think only about what AI can do for us, we will lose out on the transformational capabilities of what’s possible when we, as humans, partner with it. Discussions with industry leaders make me incredibly optimistic for what the future holds when it comes to AI. But no matter how advanced or intelligent AI becomes, people will always want to interact with people when it matters most and while technology can augment our abilities, it will never replace the value of the human-to-human connection.

 

Joshua Feast
Joshua Feast

Josh Feast is the President and CEO of Cogito. He is a serial entrepreneur and thought leader with a passion for creating innovative technology that helps people live more productive lives. Josh has more than a decade of experience as a senior executive and is regularly quoted in Forbes, Fortune, and the Wall Street Journal. He holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management where he was the Platinum-Triangle Fulbright Scholar in Entrepreneurship and a Bachelor of Technology from Massey University in New Zealand.