How I Leveraged My 5-Year-Old to Prepare for AI

Over the span of my career, I have had opportunities to mentor future data-driven business leaders. The advice I used to give primarily revolved around the hottest analytical tools and certifications and how to tell stories through data. Five years ago, however, my advice evolved in a very dramatic way, based on a reasonably benign event.

A recent study on the IQ level of artificial assistants, such as Siri, found that even the most advanced AI solutions performed worse than the average six-year-old. However, this measure somewhat clouds the real value of most AI-based business solutions. In the near- to mid-term, AI solutions can be better described as idiot savants. They will demonstrate excellent abilities to process information, provide possible insights and make routine decisions; however, they will fail miserably at generating strategic implications in dynamic marketplaces. Resultingly, as artificial intelligence plays a more prominent role in marketing or other vital functions, the need for better modelers will diminish, and the need for creative management of AI will increase. This will involve going beyond narrow operational objectives and thinking about how a family of AI solutions interacts to achieve broader and bolder goals. This will also include putting more energy into planning learning agendas and developing new measures before executing so that AI solutions have the tools to meet the right objective. For “visionary thinkers,” there will be the contrary challenge of grounding ideas within test-and-learn frameworks, learning to translate big ideas into measurable action and blending creativity with structure.

In the future, modelers and data scientists have a significant advantage, as most artificial intelligence will intuitively reflect their way of processing information. However, that benefit can only be meaningful for those who understand how to add strategic and creative value to AI solutions. Ten years from now, there will be another family on a road trip pulling into a pit stop. One child will ask the virtual assistant “What candy should I buy with five dollars?” The other will ask, “How can I get more money from Mom for candy?” The power of algorithms will provide each of them the optimal answer. But one child will still say, “No fair, you can do that!?”

Author: Shiv Gupta

Shiv Gupta is a principal at Quantum Sight LLC. He helps clients develop data, analytics and digital technology strategies to drive compelling relationships with customers. In this blog, he'll discuss ways in which marketing organizations can regain their strategic bearings and leverage their tech stack for both short-term and long-term gains. Reach him at

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