From Uber’s self-driving cars to Amazon’s warehouse robots, artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be reaching human-level dexterity nearly everywhere. You might be wondering like us: how are brands actually taking advantage of next-gen automation innovation in market research today? Can artificial intelligence identify better insights cheaper? Will computers and robots render human researchers useless? As market researchers, who also happen to be human beings, we’ve been exploring many of the same questions!

Published on Insights Association, we shared our journey with Danone where we launched “(Wo)man vs. Machine,” a head-to-head competition between human researchers and automation technology. Each team was tasked with analyzing self-recorded consumer videos using different research methodologies. One team had access to automated tools, while the other team of SKIM researchers relied on traditional human methods of analysis. In total three reports were produced and judged by William Serfarty at Danone: 1. mostly automated; 2. human-only and 3. combination human and machine.

“The outcome was a nice surprise! Now we can get a report faster that provides the level of detail you’d get from a traditional report”

— William Serfaty, Danone’s global strategy and insights manager

Read more to find out five tips based on our learnings on why you should consider automation tools and how you can successfully incorporate AI into your qualitative market research plans this year (the good news for us is that humans still have a crucial role to play).