Future ready talent strategies: Fundamentals of AI


Discover the crucial role of human-AI collaboration and learn how industry leaders leverage AI for content creation, social listening and event management. 

From content generation to audience analysis, AI tools and assistants are being integrated into daily business operations. But true innovation doesn't happen when humans are replaced by machines. As highlighted in the "Fundamentals of AI" at MCI’s Business Academy in March 2024, the best outcomes arise when AI and human ingenuity work in tandem.   

The panel of speakers included Alberto Garcia, Strategic Consultant in MCI’s Business Intelligence Unit, Panos Zachariadis, MCI’s Director of Marketing & Communications, Jeff Moore, Vice President, Technology & Innovation at MCI USA, and David Granite, Creative Technologist at Dorier Group.  

From Alan Turing to Geoffrey Hinton, Ian Goodfellow and Yoshua Bengio, early pioneers of AI spearheaded advancements in artificial neural networks and deep learning, developing machines that could learn from data and mirror certain human cognitive processes.  

AI capability has advanced significantly in a short space of time and recently a crucial theme has emerged: human-AI balance. AI can do many tasks, but human judgement, experience, ethics and creativity will always determine the success of the AI output. And when that output is properly directed, it frees us up to focus even more on strategic thought, creative problem-solving and innovation.   

Because AI is a great partner for associational thinking, for “not like me" conversations that lead us beyond our personal biases through mind mapping, analogies, divergent thinking exercises, random association, cross pollination, and SCAMPER (substitute, combine, adapt, modify, put to another use, eliminate and reverse)... to become more inquisitive problem-solvers on the job. It can push us out of our comfort zones and into the position of being intellectually wrong, emotionally uncomfortable, behaviourally quiet and more reflective – all of which, it turns out, promotes innovative thinking and action. 

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Some of the ways MCI is leveraging AI tools  

1. Event management  

“The future of reporting is no longer just going to be spreadsheets and static exports of data that our clients need to sort through and gain insights from themselves,” says Jeff Moore. "It's going to be talking directly with your data.”  

From being able to give simple instructions like “Chart my registrations over time” to complex ones that require machine learning algorithms to calculate, like “Tell me the persona of the attendee that is most likely to engage with exhibitors on the show floor”. That analysis is going to take into account all the demographics of the attendee, join in the lead data, figure out who is engaging with exhibitors – either through the mobile app or through lead retrieval, and then cluster that data together to give you a persona – and this all happens in seconds. This is what we've created with Jade Data Analysis.  

Jade is embedded into One System Plus, MCI USA's registration, housing and lead-gen program, but was designed to be platform agnostic. This advanced AI assistant facilitates interactive, real-time engagement with event data to meet the needs of various audiences, from attendees and exhibitors to show organisers. Features range from content creation to session and exhibitor recommendations for attendees, lead scoring for exhibitors, customer service, data analysis, and event setup, all handled through AI.


2. A social listening tool for deeper market intelligence  

MCI’s Business Intelligence Unit (BIU) is responsible for the data-driven research and lead gen that informs our consulting services. "We wanted to amplify what we offer for our consulting projects in that being workshops or presentations and one of the forward-thinking initiatives in this regard uses AI for advanced social listening,” says Alberto Garcia of the BIU.   

By delving into massive industry datasets, our AI tool can gather data on demographics, preferences and motivations, which allows the BIU to understand what audiences really thing and care about. It allows us to further segment industries and deliver valuable marketing insights, such as generational differences in market behaviour and brand influence.   

AI-driven advanced social listening enhances the MCI’s consulting offering and empowers our clients with actionable data to inform their marketing and business strategies.

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3. Scaling content production 

AI advancements have bolstered marketing efforts by shifting away from traditional methods towards AI-enhanced strategies that allow our teams to rapidly scale content production.   

A skilled AI prompter can collaborate with AI to produce content that perfectly mimics the that produced by native speakers. If something goes wrong with a client’s HTML newsletter, an AI assistant can save you from having to go through 500 lines of HTML code.   

This doesn’t remove the need for humans, it makes us more efficient. As Panos notes, “You give the prompt, you get the result, you optimise the outcome.”   

Another application is programmatic advertising. Looking ahead to an (almost) cookie-less future, where privacy concerns are leading to the phasing out of third-party cookies by major browsers, programmatic advertising offers contextual targeting, first-party data integration and alternative targeting methods that prioritise user privacy.   

This is a future-proof option for larger clients requiring advanced campaign management and targeting strategies, all driven by AI analysis, segmentation, optimisation, targeting and forecasting. But, again, directed and optimised by humans with experience, creativity and strategic capabilities because... 

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AI output is only as good as its human input  

The importance of thoughtful communication and emotional engagement is underestimated in human-AI interactions. David Granite suggests seeing an AI tool as a young, skilled craftsman, capable of creating complex solutions but still requiring clear guidance in the form of prompts infused with both context and emotional depth, to achieve impactful results. 


David’s five key points for effective AI prompting  

Emotional involvement: Incorporate emotional depth into prompts for more meaningful outcomes. This goes beyond word choice, encompassing the emotional tone and context of the communication.  

Contextual and detailed prompts: Providing prompts that are rich in context and detail. – for example, meticulously explain the scenario and objectives of a client’s event to ensure that AI outputs align with the goals already set.  

Interactive and iterative process: Engaging with AI should be viewed as an ongoing, interactive process. Treat your tool as a "sparring partner", responding to AI output with further, more refined input. This involves adjusting prompts and responses to steer the AI towards the desired outcome.  

Personification and persona building: The strategy of assigning a persona to your AI tool will help you guide the AI with a combination of encouragement, clarification and adjusted prompts.  

Professional and ethical usage: Don’t hesitate to consult experts and if necessary, pay for advanced AI services that protect confidentiality and data privacy while ensuring GDPR compliance, adherence to ethical standards and observance of intellectual property rights.

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Human-AI collaboration is the future 

There is immense potential for businesses that can strategically leverage AI alongside human expertise, and for those who learn the skills required to guide and assess and refine AI output. It's about finding the optimal balance – AI handles the repetitive, while humans ensure the direction remains sound, innovative, and ethical. The goal isn't for AI to replace humans, but to enhance what we're uniquely capable of achieving.

Panos Zachariadis - Director of Marketing & Communications at MCI Brussels
Albert Garcia - Strategic Consultant Business Intelligence, mci group
David Granite - Creative Technologist, Dorier Group
Jeff Moore - Vice President, Technology & Innovation, MCI USA