Augmented Intelligence in the Age of AI

The term ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is synonymous with visions of machines making autonomous decisions, outsmarting humans, and replacing us at our jobs. However, this assumes a lot of bad when it comes to AI and ignores some simple facts when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. The main thing this vision ignores is the fact that AI cannot create entirely new or original ideas like humans can. AI can infer and generate from existing knowledge bases, but at least in its current form, AI isn’t capable of creating completely new ideas.

AI, then, should be considered something additive to our jobs and something that can replace menial tasks or tasks that require the recall of large amounts of information. AI is also good at recognising patterns and detecting anomalies, but ultimately, AI is a tool we can use to augment our capability – not replace it. What if AI didn’t stand for Artificial Intelligence, but it stood for Augmented Intelligence – something that can add to human capability but is more akin to a tool in a toolbox rather than the only tool you will ever use or need?

AI is Generative, It Can’t Come Up With New Ideas

At the core of the AI debate lies a fundamental misconception. Rather than viewing AI as an autonomous, all-knowing entity, let’s see it as a tool. AI systems, such as language models (ChatGPT, for example), are trained on vast datasets containing existing human knowledge. They then recognise patterns and synthesise the information we feed them to generate text, make predictions, and assist in creative tasks. What gives a semblance of intelligence is simply a hugely complex series of logic loops looking for the answer it deems to be most correct based on the historically correct answer (thanks to the data they were trained on).

AI, as a result, doesn’t know what will become trendy in the future or what will become the next hit song. However, because humans are relatively predictable, AI can make a pretty good guess at what a song needs to do to become the next hit, but it doesn’t allow for the human anomalies we see all the time. These anomalies or shifts away from the norm are what it takes for a movie to stand out or a song to top the charts. If it were simply down to formulas, then we could all create a hit song.

Enhancing Human Capability

If we follow my thesis that AI is Augmented Intelligence, it doesn’t seek to replace human knowledge but to enhance it. Here are a few examples of how we use AI and how AI can augment the abilities in other professions:

  • To apply the findings from extensive studies- we use an eye-tracking study from MIT to apply the results on designs to test for attention and clarity
  • Monitoring active email or advertising campaigns to look for anomalies and alert us when this happens so that we can review it ourselves
  • Lawyers can use AI to scan historical cases and condense this information to then apply to new cases
  • Tesla uses AI in cameras to learn the world around it using cameras to get better at recognising objects and even predicting what cars around it are going to do

Marrying Creativity and Data

In our line of work at Futuretheory (and likely your line of work too, if you think about it), creativity is paramount. Augmented Intelligence allows marketers and designers to harness the power of data to inform and inspire creativity. For example, by analysing user behaviour and preferences, AI can indicate areas of a design that are too information-dense or instances where a layout draws attention to the wrong place.

Time is a precious resource, and one can use AI to automate routine tasks, such as data collection and analysis, freeing up more time for strategic thinking and innovation. This newfound efficiency can be a game-changer for startups and established businesses alike.

The Journey Ahead

As humans, we are responsible for ensuring that we use AI ethically and responsibly moving forward. Augmented Intelligence should be wielded as a force for good, enhancing our knowledge while adhering to ethical guidelines and respecting privacy. Like anything powerful, the wealth of data and information could easily be weaponised or used in nefarious ways.

The transition to integrating AI is not about fearing the rise of machines but embracing the possibilities of collaboration and increased efficiency. It’s about using AI as a powerful ally in our quest for knowledge, innovation, and success.

Embracing The Change

In conclusion, AI is like every other innovation that has come before it. The car replaced the horse, accounting software replaced spreadsheets, and email replaced letters. These aren’t bad things inherently, but the increase in efficiency left less work for humans, and these humans had to upskill or do a different job than before. Humans have always sought efficiency; that is what has allowed mankind to progress. If it weren’t for this innovation and ingenuity, we would all still be toiling away outside with rudimentary tools, and we wouldn’t have time to do things like putting the effort to get to the moon.

By looking at AI as a collaborator rather than something seeking to replace humans, we can harness its potential to enrich our expertise, drive innovation, and shape a brighter future. So, let’s embrace this journey and let AI augment our intelligence to do more, or do faster, leaving more time (hopefully) to spend with family, on hobbies or on your next business idea!

  • Germaine Muller
  • Founder and Managing Director at Futuretheory
  • When he’s not working on a project, you’ll see him writing across a range of different topics including marketing, development and design.
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