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Augmented AI: getting to the heart of the matter

Kees Jacobs

Artificial intelligence is everywhere. Robots are beating us a board games, giving us directions at airports, resolving our customer service queries, fulfilling our shopping lists, diagnosing our illnesses, and generally interacting with us in all aspects of our daily lives – and we, it seems, are happy to have all the help we can get. But, as consumers become increasingly aware of the benefits of AI-enabled interactions, their expectations regarding such interactions – both in terms of the experience itself and how the data resulting from it is used – continue to rise.

Our latest research (The Secret to Winning Consumers’ Hearts with Artifical Intelligence), which is based on input from 10,000 consumers across 10 European countries and executives from over 500 companies, shows that consumers are increasingly prioritizing a mix of human and AI-led interactions over AI-only interactions. Consumers may want an artificial brain to help them with their daily lives, but only if that brain has a “human heart”. We call this delicate mix Augmented Artificial Intelligence, and for the companies that strike the right balance, it promises a wealth of benefits.

Consumers are more aware of AI – according to our research, three in four people are aware of their AI-enabled interactions – and they are increasingly clear on what they want from it. A striking 64% percent want AI to have more human-like attributes, such as voice, intellect, emotions, empathy, and behavior. Such qualities in turn, promise to drive close to half of consumers to use, trust, engage, and ultimately, spend more with the company. But there are two caveats. Even though consumers want AI to be human-like, most (66%) still want to know when companies are enabling interactions via AI. More importantly, consumers want these interactions to be enabled by a mix of AI and humans, regardless of whether they are buying a car or groceries.

In short, consumers are keen to take advantage of the convenience and efficiency AI offers, but they want AI to have more human-like features. At the same time, the more human-like AI becomes, the more consumers expect to be informed of its use. Finally, consumers are most comfortable knowing that a human option is also available. In all of this, they expect a high degree of transparency in terms of how organizations implement AI. To take advantage of the many ways in which AI will revolutionize consumer engagement, organizations should focus less on implementation costs and ROI and more on consumer preferences. Currently, approximately 60% of organizations consider implementation costs and expected ROI to be the most important factors in deciding on AI-enabled use cases, versus the 7% that focus on solving consumer pain points. To find out more about why these numbers should be reversed, download the report  or contact me at