Artificial intelligence, once the stuff of science fiction, is now so embedded in our lives that we often do not notice it. We are alternately grateful for and aggrieved by autocorrect on our phones. We take it for granted when Facebook tags our photos, Amazon recommends books, and detection algorithms help read our mammograms. Yet Gartner predicts there is much more AI to come. In its recent report, 100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2022, Gartner posits, “The introduction of artificial intelligence across all types of business functions in all industries will accelerate and broaden. It will manifest itself in many if not most daily tasks from personal to professional, yet result in net job gains.”1

Tweet: AI and human instincts: better together

That last part intrigues me, the notion that AI will create, not eliminate, jobs while becoming more enmeshed in our personal and professional lives. My theory? It’s because artificial intelligence greatly complements but cannot replace human intuition. AI and gut feelings – like bacon and eggs, they are better together. Here are three organizations using AI in 2018 to enhance human intuition, improving profits and lives.

Customized coffee experiences

The next time you get your caffeine fix, you might pause for a moment to appreciate all the ways big data and artificial intelligence are shaping your Starbucks experience. An estimated 90 million transactions per week give the company 90 million opportunities to collect and leverage data. More than 15 million people allow Starbucks to gather even more detailed data about their coffee habits through its rewards program and mobile app, though which customers order and pay via their phones. This data, in turn, allows the company to focus on personalization, creating a “just-for-you” customer experience. AI underpins the app’s recommendations of new food and drink items based on past purchases, geography, and weather, in addition to special offers sent at just the right time. All this complements Starbucks’ human-based customer engagement and retention efforts, including the barista who knows your name and favorite drink.

Detecting fashion trends

Like the world’s largest coffee chain, the world’s largest clothing brand is turning to artificial intelligence to create customized retail experiences. H&M employs 200 data scientists, analysts, and engineers to detect trends, better align supply and demand, and fine-tune what items are available in its 4,000+ stores, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company uses machine learning and natural language processing to analyze blog posts, search terms, social media, and other sources in a quest to detect trends up to eight months in advance. H&M’s designers also rely on their fashion instincts, but this quantitative analysis helps them spot the next big thing.

At the store level, H&M has begun using algorithms to analyze receipts, returns, loyalty-card data, and purchasing patterns for individual locations. The goal is to use this granular data to customize the merchandise available in each store –  a big change from H&M’s long-standing practice of stocking all stores with similar items. The company reports improved sales at one Stockholm store that adjusted its stock and now is rolling out the program globally.

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Laura Remington

Laura Remington

Laura Remington is a writer and editor at Dimensional Insight. Her many years as a journalist took her from Capitol Hill to California's vineyards to glacier trekking in New Zealand. She graduated from Brown University.
Laura Remington