Why You Still Need Business Intuition in the Era of Big Data

ODSC - Open Data Science
4 min readMay 15, 2019

Artificial intelligence is coming for your job, right? Not so fast. Despite what doomsday enthusiasts predict, machines are a long way off from becoming dangerously sentient. Instead, machines are taking over areas where humans just aren’t that great, freeing up human labor to do what we do best, create, build relationships, and problem solve.

So no, AI isn’t coming for your job. It’s not even coming for your most valuable asset, your gut. There are a few different ways that big data and AI can complement your gut feelings about business, putting that intuitive skill to better use than in years past.

[See more articles on artificial intelligence in business here.]

Why AI And Intuition Are Good Friends

Big data can validate some basic hunches you have about your market, but it can also up-end some long-held beliefs about it too. The piece to remember is that data and intuition aren’t adversarial. Breaking those silos opens up an entirely new perspective on massive data and its role in your organization.

Data Versus Intuition Is False Dilemma

Basing your business entirely on your gut feelings will end in disappointment because humans just aren’t capable of processing the large amounts of data businesses receive daily. We can typically make pretty good intuition-based decisions for situations in which we are familiar, but our intuition can’t help us with the unfamiliar.

Data, on the other hand, is neutral, but the machines processing data don’t have an understanding of what they’re processing. The data is only an imprint. It may be able to identify which shows you’d prefer to watch next on Netflix, but it can’t tell you why.

The intersection of these two areas, the what and the why, are critical ways in which data and intuition work together. Data can reveal market trends, and your gut analysis of the solution can reveal factors contributing to that conclusion.

Both Data and Intuition Reflect Our Biases

Bias can also inform how we build our data collection and processing algorithms. Relying solely on the data accepts the…

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