Augmented intelligence is the real Artificial Intelligence (AI)

October 4, 2018

Despite the constant buzz around Artificial Intelligence, it’s far from truly replacing humans at jobs. The inroads Artificial Intelligence has achieved is significant, and the transformation it is achieving in the business landscape tangible. Yet, perhaps the business community has been prematurely self-congratulatory, for the AI-run dream world as portrayed in scientific fiction is nowhere on the horizon.

The real AI: Augmented Intelligence

At Digital Harbor, while we harness the power of Artificial Intelligence, we’re are building another AI: Augmented Intelligence. Our focus is to amplify human capabilities (through augmented intelligence) and not necessarily replicate them (artificial intelligence).

This is a shift in technology paradigm: we’re trying to equip humans with advanced capabilities that aid them in decision-making; not replace humans altogether. Artificial Intelligence, essentially, becomes a part of the business toolkit in the service of enhancing human ability.

The Man-machine symbiosis

This is the coming together of the man and the machine: the man-machine symbiosis. We are looking at a hybrid system where the best of human emotions and creativity and computing strength of a machine can be harnessed in a seamless fashion.

Let’s see a generic example in which the above can be done. While chatbots are a rage in consumer-oriented market, the experience they offer is far from human-like. And, an assertion that the consumers are chatting with a human (and not an algorithmic, rule-based bot) further aggravates the situation. Notwithstanding the progress Artificial Intelligence has made, the lack of emotional intelligence betrays the robotic hand behind the messages.

With augmented intelligence, no such pretense is necessary. While the repetitive tasks centered around record and retrieve mechanism can be efficiently handled by the chatbot promptly, in the event of a more complex scenario the chatbot can escalate the matter to a human for appropriate response. Here, the consumer is no longer constrained to wait for extended period to get basic range of services, because they’re delivered by the chatbot. The complex queries are dealt by humans, which again nips the possibility of an irate consumer in the bud.

Let’s explore the scenario from the enterprise end. Today’s knowledge worker must deal with a wide range of data, be capable of real-time analysis and collaboration in a fluid environment to take informed decisions. Left to their own devices, the current enterprise systems are inadequate to deal with the increasingly complex business landscape. To expect them to deliver customer delight armed with tools of yesterday is to place irrational burden on their shoulders.

Taking the above example to chatbot to its logical end, let’s see how workers are benefited from this arrangement. Retrieval of consumer-specific data, i.e. establishing the context and history, is in itself a herculean task. Artificial Intelligence comes to the rescue here, for the worker is instantly familiar with the consumers, their information, their history etc. in a personalized, 360-degree format. Significantly, the current status of an ongoing problem, for which the consumer has initiated communication, is readily available. If any efforts are been put in parallel by the enterprise, their footprint is accessible to the worker too. By empowering the worker, the enterprise has extracted the best of both worlds.

Paving way for Augmented Intelligence

Digital Harbor has always focused on empowering the business-users and thus transforming the way they function. Through its soon-to-be released enterprise platform Social Enterprise Technology (SET), the company is endeavoring to deliver a new class of applications that we call Conversational Applications. One aspect of Conversational Applications is that it brings a new range of augmented intelligence to the business-user.

The aim is not to let Artificial Intelligence decide for humans, but rather dovetail the technology in a way that it puts the confluence of decision-influencing data at the user’s ready disposal. Ultimately, the computers do the repetitive and mundane heavy-lifting, but the most critical part – that of making decisions – is still in the hands of humans.

The decision-making is informed by the intelligence provided by computer. Yet, far from making humans obsolete as many fear-mongers suggest, they aim to put humans at the heart of product experience. AI – i.e. Augmented Intelligence – is the way forward, not the other one.