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Intelligence Augmentation: How AI Empowering People to Solve Global Challenges

Who’s afraid of a little AI?

The mention of AI in general conversation usually stirs up some lively debate. It’s a typical love/hate scenario; people are either big fans or detest the concept with a passion. Just like Real Madrid, Johnny Depp or… cats.

Everyone’s got an opinion on how artificial intelligence is shaping our society – for good or evil – although many don’t have a firm grasp on just what it is they hate about it. AI has developed a bad rap as a big, bad force reading our minds, ready to take over our unsuspecting society and create a world where humans are ruled by robots and cyborgs…

Suffice to say that imaginations can get a little out of control.

 It’s not a unique or surprising reaction; it’s human nature. When the industrial revolution (stay with me, this is interesting) ushered in an era of automated equipment, a group of textile workers in England calling themselves the Luddites began to protest. Convinced their jobs and livelihoods were under threat, these people demonstrated their frustration and fear with the situation by burning mills and destroying factory machinery.

In the long term, obviously these machines were eventually welcomed as transforming the way people worked. Manual labor was drastically reduced as a result and workplaces became much safer to boot.

So, no need to follow their example and smash our smart phones just yet…

Augmented AI and Artificial Intelligence – what’s the difference?

There is a nuanced difference between artificial intelligence and augmented intelligence that might be lost on a lot of people. The definition of augmented intelligence according to Gartner is that it is, “a design pattern for a human-centered partnership model of people and AI working together”. Important to emphasize that this puts the “human” element slap in the middle of the equation. It’s something designed to improve upon processes such as cognitive learning and decision making.

While AI refers to the technology of building autonomous, human-like intelligence, IA (intelligence augmentation, aka enhanced intelligence) provides support to an already functioning autonomous intelligence (aka as humans). Even the abacus was a form of IA, designed to augment the processing capabilities of the human brain. 

Data analytics: building strategy in volatile times.

This process of outsourcing labor to machines that began about two hundred and fifty years ago has led to our increasing reliance today on data analytics; it’s become the cornerstone of any successful modern business. Characterized by storing large amounts of data, optimizing tasks, performance and reducing costs by identifying ways to do things more efficiently, the organization that ignores advances in this field does so at its peril – and risks being left behind in the dust.

The ability to mine big data for patterns and quickly predict and simulate alternative scenarios has never been more needed than in our crazy times when world events can turn even the best laid plans on their head at a moment’s notice.

Whether it’s online stores predicting customer behavior, tracking the movement of people and the path of infectious disease during a pandemic, predicting mutations to help develop vaccines, predicting energy output during an energy crisis, or identifying undecided voters before an election, data analytics has an extremely wide scope of applications.

How Augmented Intelligence is the bees’ knees in business

Big data can give you intelligence of the market that leads to big wins, but it can also equate to big headaches. Thankfully, what once required a team of analysts can now be done and dusted in a fraction of the time thanks to automated insights, machine learning, NLP (natural language processing) or computer vision.

But where can augmented intelligence help businesses in concrete terms?

For example, in the retail industry (which faced a load of supply chain issues during the pandemic), IA can provide retailers a range of benefits that go beyond just optimizing inventory and capitalizing on customer trends.

Coca-Cola used AI-driven image recognition technology and augmented analytics to track how images of their products were used across the internet. Utilizing the insights and algorithms, the company optimized how their social media ads appeared and managed to increase their clickthrough rate by 4x compared with targeted advertising.

Manufacturing is another industry benefitting from augmented intelligence tools. Like the retail sector, manufacturers have been able to capitalize on trends in a speedy fashion thanks to insights and adjust their output according to demand. There are several areas here that benefit from intelligence including analysis of warehouse space, production line output and scheduling of deliveries and staff.

Another prominent example is people enablement with AI-technologies, like cognitive automation, cognitive insight, and cognitive engagement. To delve deeper into this topic, check out the post here that explores how revenue management jobs are changing as a result. 


IA: the versatile add-on

Think of AI augmentation as the nerdy smart kid given a role at your company. The kid’s not there to take over your job; they’re there to help.

Being free of the more boring, routine and repetitive tasks – and getting them done a lot more efficiently and quickly – allows us to focus on the things we like. Want to feel eager to get to work on a Monday morning? That’s the kind of miracle augmented intelligence aspires to. It’s a partnership with humans, to assist and improve cognitive performance, literally augmenting the skills of the individual and leaving humans firmly in the driver’s seat. It complements rather than replaces human cognition.

It’s the yin to your yang; the eggs to your bacon; the lace to your shoe… you get the idea.

With the benefit of AI’s number crunching and ability to identify complex patterns in large amounts of data to optimize trends, employees are freed up to tackle the more creative and decision-making aspects of their work. That’s a win-win scenario that even a die-hard Luddite couldn’t argue with.

So go ahead and please ping us if you’d like to support your AI-strategy implementation journey by using our AI-tools and transformation capability enablement service.



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