Human brain beats algorithms (according to Google)

Wireframe headby Tony Fannin, CEO/Partner, BE Branded  |

The ongoing debate about man vs. machine has been going on for many decades, but it has heightened as more technology has become “smarter”. Software is able to “learn” and anticipate our next moves, desires and wants. Some think it’s very creepy, especially online. Many technologists believe in the unfailing power of the algorithm and data (they believe data never lies). The other side of the conversation are those who still believe in the power of the individual mind and the irrational logic of human behaviors.

Recently, Google has issued their opinion on the matter. In the past, they are full, card-carrying member of the technology camp believing in the power that human behavior and intent can be predicted in an algorithm. Early this November, Google now admits (quietly) that the human brain beats an algorithm. They announced, “There are just some tasks at which Google’s algorithms remain at a competitive disadvantage to actual human beings, one vein personalized answers to questions that require expert assistance.” In realizing this (acknowledgment is the first step to recovery), Google has announced its “helpouts” product which is an acknowledgement that “its search engines misses a lot of information that people want.”

My long-standing belief has been technology can get you far down the road, but it cannot get you all the way. The main flaw that algorithms have is, humans are irrational creatures where emotions are much more powerful than logic. When we work with clients, we often tell  them, “Customers will use emotions to make the purchase, but then use logic to justify it.” This is true for B2B as it is for B2C. Another human trait that can not be reduced to a formula is customers are willing to settle for “good enough” if “the best” is either too much or too hard to find. Also, “the best” can rarely be agreed upon by everyone which is why there are so many products and services in every consumer and business category.

All this leads to the importance of creating a great brand. It is brand that puts the most powerful element in a human first, their emotions, then backs it up with logical bullet points to justify what they feel is right and pure. It is the nuances that Google acknowledges is the difference between general information and expert opinion.

As Mr. Miyagi said to young Daniel, “You learn karate from book? hummmm?”


About Be Branded

Tony Fannin is of President of BE Branded, an integrated marketing firm who helps clients BE Somebody to their customers. If you aren't somebody, then you are commodity.

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