Harness The Real Promise of AI: You, But Better

AI has emerged as the transformative technology that’s becoming a key differentiator in accelerating business outcomes, increased customer engagement, improved productivity and efficiency and rapid business growth.

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AI augments human expertise to “unlock new intelligence from vast quantities of data and to develop deep, predictive insights at scale.”

An IBM study shows that companies that have already implemented the technology are realizing great value — 50% have already gained a major competitive advantage, and 58% believe it will be a “must have" to remain competitive in three to five years.

Business leaders are increasingly relying on AI for strategic success, digital transformation and gaining market share.

Extended Intelligence

What AI is particularly good at is breaking down the bottleneck of human efficiency, reducing repetitive work and enhancing productivity. It can process vast amounts of data, detect patterns and make predictions.

Humans, on the other hand, are good at processing sensory data, understanding, abstract thought and free association and lateral thinking.

Extended intelligence (EI) blends the strengths of AI and humans. In EI, humans are the leaders — they can draw on their experience and intuition and validate the output of cognitive systems.

Prof. Alex Pentland, co-creator of the MIT Media Lab says,

“Think of AI and the human organization as a single continuous network of facilities. When you do that, what you’ve done is you’ve added new capabilities to the organization. AIs are just ‘capabilities’ or ‘actors’ with particular characteristics. They’re employed as appropriate.”

Sara Rendtorff-Smith, applied research lead for Data-driven Governance and AI Policy at MIT, says, “The capabilities brought about by AI are not outside of us, but an extension of us.”

Extended intelligence is taking the capabilities of AI and using it to build on innate human characteristics.
AI, for instance, could detect cancer with more accuracy and speed of diagnosis, aid clinical decision-making and lead to better outcomes. According to the National Cancer Institute, the AI-based approach to detecting cancer is more accurate.

Further, analysis using AI is helping create a world database that will help doctors the world over. And, AI — along with nanotechnology — can reduce the cost of cancer cell therapy so that it becomes accessible to patients globally.
Machine learning is also helping oncologists figure out the most effective, individualized cancer treatment for their patients.

But what about creativity, can AI become creative?

Jason Toy, CEO at Somatic.io, says, “Can we take what humans think is beautiful and creative and try to put that into an algorithm? I don't think it's going to be possible for quite a while.”

Arvind Krishna, Director of IBM Research, says,

“I think teaching AI what’s melodic or beautiful is a challenge of a different kind since it is more subjective, but likely can be achieved. You can give AI a bunch of training data that says, ‘I consider this beautiful. I don’t consider this beautiful.’ And even though the concept of beauty may differ among humans, I believe the computer will be able to find a good range. Now, if you ask it to create something beautiful from scratch, I think that’s certainly a more distant and challenging frontier.”

That distant and challenging frontier is the domain of humans.

The Human-AI Hybrid Team

Joi Ito, former director of the MIT Media Lab, says, “Instead of thinking about machine intelligence in terms of humans vs machines, we should consider the system that integrates humans and machines – not artificial intelligence but extended intelligence.”

The future of employment will depend on how well humans can work in a blended team with AI, their capacity to leverage AI’s speed, accuracy and computational power with their own cognition, creativity, empathy and judgment to bring about better business outcomes.

As the Harvard Business Review wrote, “AI will be your new coworker.” And everyone has to learn how to get along with it.

Register for the MIT AI Leadership course co-directed by Prof. Alex Pentland, Member of the Council of Extended Intelligence, to learn about extended intelligence and how to leverage AI as a tool in your leadership role.

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