The Humanization of Digitization & AI


Dec 2023

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We asked for AI to be human, when it’s simply not the same biological lifeform that we are. Don’t get us wrong – AI is the ultimate cheat code to help improve the lives of humans, but it’s not a replacement (unlike what we see in the movies). It’s just not at the same level as humans when it comes to acting like… well… a human.
Of course, the error lies not so much in the technology, which is doing exactly what it was programmed to do: pattern matching, analyzing, making predictions. You know, robot stuff, based in logic and algorithmic probabilities. What we have is a case of PEBKAC.
In the global run-up of enthusiasm, people made a basic category error: Taking a tool and expecting it to act unequivocally like a person. Should we be surprised when AI fails to meet expectations wildly out of scope? Do we get mad at a calculator when it can’t tell us the meaning of life? (Unless the answer is 42, of course.)
The fault lies with us, humans in not properly understanding why our teams, such as our sales and marketing teams, excel.
Over the last few decades we’ve focused so much on Big Data and ROI, we’ve forgotten the art and craft — the so-called soft skills — necessary to build trust, tell a compelling story, and forge strong customer relationships.
In our attempts to quantify success (number of calls made! number of ad clicks! time between first touch and sale!) we lost sight of the secret to good sales and marketing: developing and nurturing human relationships. And when we use that as our metric, it’s easy to see why AI hasn’t reached such a high bar YET.
Side note: When AI has fully mastered the art of human empathy, it’ll be #GAMEOVER with endless possibilities of how to leverage the tool (and we’re ready for it), but until it gets there, the best knockout combo is a 1-2-punch of human-led multi shore staffing + artificial intelligence programming together.

Why AI Still Needs Humans

AI is improving every day, but it isn’t there yet when it comes to empathy
In an article for Business2Community, Brian Basilico mulls over why AI hasn’t excelled as well as its human counterparts in sales and marketing. His piece identifies four main reasons; in a nutshell, AI hasn’t quite mastered the human skills most necessary in sales and marketing: agility, leadership, creativity, and empathy.
Why are those traits so critical for successful sales and marketing teams? Because at heart, both sales and marketing are forms of sophisticated human interaction, requiring understanding, negotiation, coordination and cooperation.
The human brain is finely attuned to navigating these complicated social relationships. We understand what it’s like to be a human in the world. More importantly, we understand how other people think, how they might be feeling, and how they might react to a given situation.
Artificial Intelligence is fast and efficient in its narrow, defined uses. But put AI in a situation where it doesn’t know the context, doesn’t have a precise script to follow, or can’t look up the answer, and it fumbles. Sometimes it claims a question can’t be answered. Sometimes it simply refuses to answer. Sometimes it hallucinates and just makes stuff up.
What your human teams possess are precisely those abilities lacking in AI: the ability to understand the context, recognize the customer’s perspective, improvise or pivot when the standard approach isn’t working, and communicate in a way that makes your customer feel understood. 
It is the job of both sales and marketing to empathize, be flexible, try new approaches, and work together with customers to find the solution. If they don’t know the answer, that’s just the beginning of a fact finding process to get to the bottom of the issue. Shutting down — or worse, making stuff up to sound smart — are not options for trustworthy human interactions.
That’s why those skills identified by Basilico in his piece remain so important, and why AI still needs the human touch in order to really reach the excellence it one day hopes to achieve. And humans are up for the task, it’s why we see company after company creating new languages and new ways to leverage AI. We’re excited for a world where things get to be easier with the help of AI.

The Humanization of Digitization

No matter how digitally connected and virtually enabled and Internet-of-Everything our world gets, people remain the point of it all. (Pending the Singularity of course.) Humans are your users, and your customers — and thankfully, they are also your secret weapon when it comes to improving AI. Because nobody gets People like other People.
At EX Squared, we’re not only people that get people: we’ve spent the last twenty years combining our cutting-edge digital know-how with our deep understanding of people and their behavior. We build digital products people want to use, driven by a relentless thirst to make things better.
If you’re looking for a partner to help you connect great technology to the human experience, look no further: we’re your person.

EX Squared is a creative technology agency that creates digital products for real human beings.