Editor’s note: Gaurav Kapoor is president of messaging optimization company Newristics, Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are already revolutionizing many industries like automotive and health care. There are self-driving cars on the road and machine learning algorithms can accurately predict tumor regrowth in lung cancer patients, outperforming clinicians by a wide margin. 

How advanced is the market research industry in its use of AI and ML? Is it at the cutting-edge of AI technologies or still in the early stages of adoption? Almost all major marketing research companies claim to be using AI and ML in their offerings, but insights professionals working for large companies often lack transparency on how AI and ML is being used by research vendors.  To many insights leads, AI and ML still feels like a black box and the risk/reward tradeoff of incorporating artificial intelligence into research projects is not something they can clearly evaluate.

The use of AI and ML in market research can be organized into six levels of increasing complexity and advanced use of algorithms. AI and ML are poised to disrupt the insights profession, making way for new companies that can forever change the way insights are captured from customers and converted into stories that can build brands. 

1. Panel management.

Panel companies have always had to manage engagement and churn among panel members. Machine learning algorithms can be very effective in predicting who is about to churn in a panel and when based on historical panel member engagement data. Conversely, ML and AI can also be used to mitigate churn and trigger engagement strategies and programs to retain panel members. 

2. Real-time fraud detection/ID verification in surveys.

Whether companies are using consumers from their own first party databases or sourcing respondents from panel providers,...