Thought Leadership

Wanted: Intelligence (Artificial or Not)

July 10, 2023
Author: Brian Ward

Leveraging Escalent’s Staff Augmentation Solution to Power Your Teams

Imagine, if you will, having a tool at work that allows you to get things done faster and better. Imagine a resource that, based on nothing more than strategic prompting by you, completes your time-consuming, complex, technical tasks with breathtaking speed. Imagine the freedom to dedicate more of your precious time to higher-value activities of your choosing, while the crucial yet resource-consuming activities of execution and production are done for you.

If that sounds good, the magic of artificial intelligence is … not going to get you there. At least not yet.

The accomplishments of large language model algorithms are impressive and exciting. Their ability to access and summarize information, generate communications, and even create visualizations has been amazing. However, for research providers and high-end users of data analytics and insights, we’re still at the novelty and curiosity stage. This cutting-edge technology can create generic survey instruments and then literally fabricate data for you. But, to put it mildly, this is less than sufficient performance for real professionals.

AI tools have already gotten a lot better from the first generation, and they will continue to improve. They will do astonishing new things. But I wouldn’t count on them as viable substitutes for the art and science of research and analytics in the next 12 months. In fact, there’s no guarantee that it will ever happen. Extrapolating the inevitable future progress of any technology is a logical fallacy. This is why no one who watched the moon landing in 1969 will be taking their flying car to the spaceport later today to begin their Martian vacation.

Computer scientist Melanie Mitchell explores the argument against rapid AI replacement of human intelligence in her paper, Why AI Is Harder Than We Think. Her assertions include 1) AI excels in only narrow realms of intelligence that do not exist as sufficient building blocks of general intelligence, 2) AI cannot replicate the enormous complexity of unconscious perception, and 3) human intelligence includes computation from the morphology of our bodies (outside the brain), which AI does not address.

So, we are not in a position to throw HAL 9000 the keys to our research programs just yet. But, all those needs I mentioned earlier (getting work done faster and better, focusing on higher-value activities) still exist. What to do?

Use a tool that exists right now that can accomplish these goals: Escalent Staff Augmentation (also known as dedicated teams).

Want proof that AI did not write this article? It took me seven paragraphs to get to my thesis statement. No advanced intelligence would ever do that.

Virtually everything you’ve fantasized that AI could do for you, our resource and Staff Augmentation solutions can and have done for dozens of clients. Invest a little bit of time in backgrounding and strategic guidance, and this experienced team of researchers will produce incredible results. My first use of ChatGPT, the speed and detail of the results, immediately reminded me of what I’ve experienced with Escalent’s dedicated teams. The little bit of direction I give and BOOM, this is what I get back!? Wow. But there is nothing artificial about this intelligence. And the output you get is not via a mysterious algorithm with an agnostic relationship with the truth. Instead, it’s from skilled, experienced, high-integrity research professionals. Your dedicated team is, by design, organic, flexible and focused on your needs exclusively, with institutional memory and incentivized to see you succeed.

What do some of our clients across the industries we serve have to say about Staff Augmentation?

  • “This is super! The accuracy in results is amazing and all of it is done at a small fraction of [the] effort we had anticipated. Thanks a lot for [the] superfast story development, which was very well-received by the leadership.” – Vice president, consumer insights and brand strategy, global apparel brand
  • “Thank you for going above and beyond and using additional sources to target the right partners. I don’t have much additional feedback because you did such a great job. Exciting stuff!”Media tech client
  • “Very helpful—thank you for [the] fast turnaround time and clear presentation. I love the data aggregation.” – Media tech client
  • “I want to especially thank the team for pulling together [an] impossible amount of data during the preliminary stages of research. This was truly an impossible feat, but you guys got it done.” – Associate director, strategy, major pharmaceutical company

Do you need help in any of these areas: secondary research, primary research, project advancement, knowledge synthesis, analytics, data and visualization? Our dedicated teams can do it.

The real business world of 2023 includes ever tightening budgets, staffing squeezes and at least rumors of economic slowdown. The real solution to doing more with less is Staff Augmentation. Click below to learn more.


Ward Brian
Brian Ward
Director, Financial Services

Brian Ward is a director in the Financial Services division of Escalent, focusing on the wealth management sector. Over a career spanning hundreds of studies across multiple methodologies, Brian has developed deep expertise in, and admiration for, all stages of the total research process. He believes marketing research is, at its core, the opportunity to discover the truth about human behavior, and that makes it the best job in the world. Brian has a Bachelor of Science degree in Urban Studies from the University of Minnesota. In his spare time, he further reveals the truth through writing and hosting trivia contests.