A Silicon Rose by Any Other Name …

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One of the interesting points has came up several times during the Remain Relevant course was that Artificial Intelligence isn’t all job threat and Boogeyman.  It also yields massive benefits across many applications and industries … if it didn’t, there’d be no concern around its widespread implementation – no benefit, no bots. 

As such, one aspect of the myriad discussions swarming around AI is the topic of “augmented intelligence”.  I have seen this term pop up in a couple of recent Forbes articles, and (in my mind, at least) it hearkens back to “cobotics” (collaborative robotics): robots/automation working in tandem with humans toward achieving a specific end.

I must admit I had a bit of headline shock when I first saw the term “Augmented Intelligence”. (My reaction was something along the lines of: “Seriously?  UGH! What NOW?!?”)  Thankfully, Augmented Intelligence is not unveiling a new “flavor” of Artificial Intelligence, but rather describing oneapplication/effectof the technology, the focus being on partnership & benefit to the “partnering” human.  Contrary to the “automation” element of AI, augmented intelligence addresses humans and artificial intelligence working in concert – humans are freed up do what humans are good at and AI is leveraged by the humans to do what it’s good at. In this dynamic, AI does not supplant the human, but rather supports the human by serving as a collaborative tool.

From the February 22 article “Augmented Intelligence Helping Businesses and Humans Succeed in a World of Disruption”:

Quote of Note:

“Simply put, augmented intelligence combines the strengths of humans (reasoning, creativity, judgment and flexibility) with machines (perfect recall, accuracy, speed and logic) to give us an incredible boost in cognitive performance. It helps people be better rather than making us obsolete. This is important because we can really use the help, especially at work.”

Additionally, there was this piece from last month (January 12) “3 Things You Need to Know about Augmented Intelligence”:

Quote of Note:

“Where the Agricultural Revolution harnessed domesticated animals for pastoral farming, and the Industrial Revolution designed machines for factory production, so today the Computational Revolution is leveraging computers to augment human intelligence. Augmented intelligence is an alternative conceptualization of artificial intelligence that focuses on AI’s assistive role in advancing human capabilities. Augmented intelligence reflects the ongoing impact of AI in amplifying human innovation.”

These descriptions may be part of a “whispering campaign” to rebrand Artificial Intelligence, steering away from the cold, alien-esque quality of the name toward one that has the benefit baked right in (“augmentation” – who can argue with that, right?). Serendipitously, this article from (Why “Artificial Intelligence Needs a Smarter Name) skittered all bright-and-shiny across my field of vision yesterday and it, too, raises some very interesting points. 

All that said … you can call a chainsaw “cotton candy”, but you’d still better treat it with deep, abiding respect, lest you inadvertently lop off an extremity.

While augmented intelligence may serve as a phenomenal tool, it serves us well to remember that data is the lifeblood & experience of AI.  As we utilize augmented intelligence in a cobot-dynamic, we could potentially be training the AI and allowing it to eke further into the “automation” swim lane. If that sounds risk-laden and personally expensive … it should.

Does that mean we should put our tools down and cease work … stop training AI by ceasing to leverage it for its benefits?  Well, no … our intended end state would not to be out of work.  To quit in protest would simply hasten the effect we want to avoid.

One of FastFulcrum’s goals is to equip students with a set of perspectives and tools that will better allow them to survive and thrive in the Age of Automation.  It is not intended to create diametrically-opposed, mutually exclusive thinking (i.e. AI is “bad” and “the enemy” and we should have nothing to do with it!).  That is a brittle & rigid mindset that will not serve us well.   

Rather, we must adapt & evolve in an informed manner … be fully & contextually aware of the environment(s) with which we have interaction.  We need to leverage the experience & tools to which we’re exposed in order to Remain Relevant.  If we have to work with AI in order to keep our jobs, by all means we should do so and stay in the arena as long as possible – all the while, we’re avoiding atrophy, developing new skills & perspectives and becoming stronger.

And that’s what it’s all about, Charlie Brown … becoming stronger.

Do you want to Remain Relevant in the Age of Automation?  If so, please have a look at the FastFulcrum courses that provide the substrate skills needed to do so: