So, you've heard of AI and you're familiar with the term 'smart'. But what is augmented intelligence and why should you care? Simply put, augmented intelligence is AI + human interaction. It's a system that takes into account a user's experience and knowledge to help them make better decisions. And because it's smarter than regular AI, it can learn faster and make more accurate predictions. So why will augmented intelligence be smarter than AI? Well, one reason is that humans are capable of quickly understanding patterns that are still too complex for machines to discern (exceptions on standard patterns). Additionally, humans have the ability to communicate with other humans to pool knowledge and create even smarter systems. This makes augmented intelligence a powerful tool for organizations that want to stay human and ahead of the curve.
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Why is this important?
The misuse of some artificial intelligence methods has already caused major problems. Automated news curation has been designed to feed us more of the things we like, and sometimes prioritizes messages that are more likely to cause upset, such as Facebook’s automatic policy that prioritizes messages that provoked bigger reactions. These automated learning systems result in our societies polarising around certain views, leading to radicalization and distortions in the democratic process. There are similar problems when automated systems are used to make judgments classifying faces, with discrimination being embedded within the software. Again, this is technology first, people second. Decisions that may affect people should be made by people. Why would we delegate our choices to machines? Isn’t this removing one of our fundamental freedoms? The use of augmented intelligence enables people to make these decisions in a safer and more informed manner. Instead of automated news curation, artificial intelligence can be used to present us with a balanced choice of different topics and opinions. Feeding a child nothing but sweets and ice cream makes for an unhealthy child; give them a varied selection to form a balanced diet and they become healthy and strong. Similarly, if we use artificial intelligence to help provide varied and balanced online media content, then the minds and education of populations become healthy and strong. We are working so hard to make computers that compute better when we could be using computers to help us think and act better? Should we aim for total automation with the target of greater safety and higher efficiency? Or should we aspire to augmentation – using technology to enhance our abilities without replacing us? As artificial intelligence and robotics mature enough to become integrated into everyday life, we need to start making this choice. We need to choose wisely, or we might just automate ourselves and the natural world out of existence.
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