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Creating Understanding Around AI

Working with market research online community software, we are continually trying to adapt to innovative technologies that can be used to help marketing teams better understand their customers. In recent years, market research has seen increasing adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to understand market sentiment and to comb over vast amounts of data. With AI being new and not very well understood by the public, it has created some fear and trepidation both for its possibilities, and also because we often fear what we don’t understand. To counter that, Finland has set out to pursue the goal for one percent of the Finnish population to question and help to shape AI by the end of the year. That was the start of the “1% AI Challenge.”

Up until 50 years ago, there was still a large percentage of people who could not read or write, and with that came a social change to help people become literate. With the technological age upon us, there is a growing need for creating digital literacy and maturity. Going forward, this understanding will be the key for societies to gain a competitive advantage and succeed. The University of Helsinki has been the leader in Finland to help promote this type of digital literacy by offering a free online course entitled ‘The Elements of Artificial Intelligence’. The course focuses on why machine learning and neural networks are important. It also goes into practical applications for both the present and the future. On top of that, it looks at important questions such as “Who will benefit from it?” and “What kind of future do we want to build?”.

A lot of companies in Finland are getting behind this educational push, with some companies allowing workers up to 30 hours of paid work time to complete the course. This educational push will create an economic advantage for the future as citizens start thinking of practical applications for AI and begin incorporating it into their work. By reducing fear and creating openness around the topic, the hope is to spawn further innovation. At the end of the Elements of AI course, students are asked to provide a report on how to experiment with AI both in their home and at work.

We need to prioritize an understanding of new technological developments as they apply to our jobs as marketing and market research leaders. From there we also need to integrate this understanding and the learnings into our broader circles, such as our family and friends. The future belongs to all of us and only by creating that broader understanding, we can create openness towards and maximum benefits from these developments.

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