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Consult an algorithm?

Computers have long been encroaching on traditional human tasks. Over the years, sophisticated algorithms have begun to be surprisingly effective in what would normally be considered “creative” tasks – think writers, talent agents etc. Consultants, rather smugly, consider themselves immune from all this noise. After all, isn’t consulting contextual and advisory in nature? How on earth could a machine replace that?

A new book may shatter some of these beliefs.Some titbits from an article in the WSJ about this:

  • Algorithms in call centers parse calls to determine your personality type resulting in more happy resolutions
  • A music judging algorithm one ups music agents in picking the next hit
  • The CIA has predictive algorithms that are correct twice as often than its own human analysts

Maybe the ability (and willingness) of consulting companies to use algorithms to augment their own analysts will be a source of differentiation.

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