Ocean Spray Cranberry company has always used a human touch when interpreting data about its customers.

The company developed its wildly popular Craisins product after discovering that only 38 percent of U.S. consumers were eating or drinking cranberries but around 60 percent of Americans like dried fruit.

When social media became popular, Michael Nestrud, the company’s senior manager of global sensory science and consumer affairs, made a hobby of analyzing Twitter posts about cranberries to get a sense of customers’ emotions associated with the fruit.

However, unstructured customer data is unstructured and anecdotal — only useful when you are able to sense patterns and incorporate the insights gained from them into customer outreach and experience.

They’ll also need to think carefully about how the AI system’s predictions and recommendations will be experienced by their customers, whose emotions and emotional associations the machine can’t effectively interpret or predict.

Heading into the new year, companies adopting AI platforms have a real opportunity to incorporate those human traits into making decisions.

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