Humans and AI are co-operating. . . for now

Artificial Intelligence and humanity

Much of popular fiction has painted Artificial Intelligence and humanity as opposing forces. AI is the clever, morally ambiguous antagonist, whilst humans are the hapless fools that created their own demise. Thanks to development and adoption, the long-standing view of the technology as inherently dangerous is changing. Despite this, AI platforms are constantly pitted against humans to test their skill. Special events are set up specifically with this in mind, for example the chess match in which Deep Blue defeated the reigning world champion, or the more recent victory of Libratus at a Rivers Casino poker tournament. This makes sense, as the ultimate aim of Artificial Intelligence is to reach and consequently exceed human ability. However, the AI platforms that beat human players in these two examples were designed for that singular purpose. What if it wasn’t a case of one being better than the other? What if AI and humans work together. . . and if so, how?

How do humans and AI co-operate?
Humans and AI already co-operate, but not in the way that humans do with other humans. People co-operate by making compromises to find a solution that suits everyone. Software and hardware can’t co-operate with humans in the same way because it doesn’t have the same level of utility – yet. As AI’s capabilities expand, so will its autonomy, leading to cobots that are active co-workers rather than passive machines. This will enable collaborative working between human and AI-powered employees across a variety of different working environments. Outside of the physical workplace, a collaborative approach to data collection has been pioneered by Unanimous A.I., the creators of an incredibly useful platform called UNU. By drawing together anonymous participants in digital, real time surveys, UNU can predict consumer opinion to race-winning horses. In May 2016, the platform beat 540-1 odds by correctly predicting the superfecta at the Kentucky Derby. That’s not just one winner – it’s the first, second, third and fourth, in order. The technology is called ‘Swarm Intelligence’, and is based on the collective decisions made by swarms of honeybees when they migrate. Swarm Intelligence reveals more than just numbers. . . it tells the client about why and how people make their choices. According to Unanimous A.I.’s founder Louis Rosenberg, this is the most interesting information. UNU demonstrates just one innovative way in which AI and humans can work together. Without the platform, businesses would be left with a ton of data points and no analysis – but without human input, there would be no data to begin with.

How will co-operation disrupt businesses?
Co-operation (or at least collaboration) between humans and AI is largely a positive thing, especially for businesses. However, it will change the way that they function, leading to integration of AI technology in the workplace. Services like those offered by Unanimous A.I. turn consumer markets and business teams into intelligent systems, combining expertise to make better decisions. Theoretically, this will accumulate in more efficient, effective strategies for production, marketing and distribution. When it comes to employment, it’s no secret that AI threatens blue and white collar jobs. This threat will increase as AI takes on roles associated with marketing experts and managers, rather than being confined to production lines. However, it will also necessitate the creation of new roles for human employees who can programme and interact with software. It’s not just corporations that all of this will affect – it will have an impact on the general population, too. Outside of the business world, human-based AI will continue to disrupt the way that society interacts with technology. People will interact with AI platforms not as passive tools but as co-operative aids. UNU, for instance, can be used by the public as well as businesses to find the answer to a certain question. This could be the beginning of a new way of utilising AI as a tool that uses human intelligence instead of replacing it.

Human-based AI is a step forward in the evolution of the relationship between humans and software. Granted, there will be some difficulties to overcome, including reluctance to adopt and potential cost barriers. Businesses also need to be aware that new models like Swarm Intelligence aren’t guaranteed to give the best answers. It depends on who takes part in the surveys, and requires their co-operation with the interface. All human-AI interactions rest on honest exchanges – although AI can now understand and detect deception. The worrying thing is that it can be deceptive, too. Co-operation may be an ambiguous term to use when talking about people and software, but it’s clear that the integration of humans and AI yields some impressive results – you’ve only got to look at the depth of analysis made possible by Unanimous A.I. to see that. Combining human intelligence with Artificial Intelligence could well be the key to unlocking the full potential of AI.

Could your business benefit from co-operation between human employees and AI? How else might AI and humans co-operate? Can AI really be called ‘artificial’ if it uses real-time human knowledge? Share your thoughts and opinions.

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