The need to merge human intelligence with AI is fast becoming a workplace reality, but it’s easier said than done
Businesses are increasingly understanding that their employees will need to work alongside artificial intelligence to deliver the best results. Merging AI and human intelligence (HI) has the potential to provide better products and services, tap into different approaches to tasks, and free people from repetitive tasks as well as uncovering previously undiscovered creative solutions to problems. The more work that is shared with an artificially intelligent system, the more innovative solutions can be discovered and the human ability to build connections with customers and clients can flourish.
However, recognising that AI can augment human workforces is only the first step. Businesses have to consider a whole host of infrastructural issues, and prepare their workers for a very different style of working.
A smarter strategy
Although the aim of AI (in Turing’s mind, anyway) is to imitate HI to the point where both are indistinguishable, AI and HI are fundamentally different. Human intelligence learns via the senses and past experiences. They are also emotionally intelligent, which is something that AI is yet to crack. But AI is analytical and logical in a way that humans aren’t, and with this, it is capable of formulating and processing in ways that humans can’t. AI can take huge datasets and whittle them down to snippets of relevant information quickly. It can complete tasks in minutes as opposed to days, and it can identify data discrepancies that humans would never spot. Artificial and human intelligence is a match made in business heaven.
The AI-HI model is already in practice across a number of sectors. In healthcare, clinical decisions are aided by artificially intelligent systems that search through historical data at a pace that human professionals never could. But, that said, getting a diagnosis direct from AI would be a very different experience to getting it from a doctor or nurse. Naturally you need both – AI augmenting human intelligence can lead to increased efficiency and accuracy.
In customer facing businesses like retail, the story is much the same. Personalisation has changed the way that brands interact with their target markets, necessitating secure, reliable data analysis to work out what customers might want to buy next… But the human customer service team is still absolutely vital – yet it can function better, to the benefit of the business and the consumer if partnered with AI.
In the face of AI adversity…
In the tech world, companies like Amazon and Google have the resources to take advantage of AI, but for smaller businesses, it’s not so easy.
Bringing in AI can be costly in itself, as can reskilling existing workforces. In a world where everyone wants to ‘do AI’, talent is scarce. If a business can’t hire AI-savvy employees, then some existing workers may need to upskill, while others will chose the route of bringing in their AI expertise from outside.
There is also the ever present fear that AI means job loss. And, for easily automated tasks that may be the case, however, as we have suggested before, AI and human collaboration is likely to be an opportunity rather than a threat. Though even when businesses successfully merge AI and HI, there are still challenges surrounding data protection, user privacy, and securing information.
A helping hand
AI and HI work well together, so long as human workers undergo the correct training to collaborate with intelligent systems. Malaysian startup Supahands is helping to address this issue by providing an automated ‘workforce for hire’. DIANE, the company’s ‘Digital Innovation Assistant for kNowledge Engineering’, automatically distributes microtasks to a global HI workforce. If one of Supahand’s clients doesn’t have the in house skills to complete a certain project, DIANE searches through Supahands’ database of ‘SupaAgents’ to find appropriate talent. Instead of forcing existing workers to muddle through a ‘How To’ course on machine learning, Supahands’ clients leverage AI to find HI. It’s an interesting spin on the AI-HI model that could seriously disrupt the business outsourcing industry.
Businesses can bring AI and humans together in a number of ways. They can automate repetitive tasks and let people deal with people. They can let AI run backend systems so that humans can be more customer focused, and they can seek out talent using AI platforms like Supahands.
For a business, the aim is to produce the best outcomes. While AI and HI are certainly different, they are both valuable and never more so than in collaboration.
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