What’s augmented intelligence?

Augmented intelligence is an AI perspective that centres humans and focuses on the enhancing and assistive role that technology can play. In short, rather than replacing humans in workplace environments, augmented intelligence is AI that makes us better at what we do.

How are organisations exploiting AI to make people better at their jobs?

The coronavirus pandemic has given us new innovations in how augmented intelligence can empower humans: in California’s Santa Clara County, a machine learning algorithm assisted contact tracers by matching predicted Spanish-speaking contacts with bilingual telephonists. Compared to a control, the algorithm was able to refer the right calls to the bilingual contact tracers with a high degree of accuracy and reliability. This use of technology cannot replace the contact tracers themselves, but enhances their ability to excel at their work.

This underlines a fundamental truth: humans and computers are good at different things, and best used for different processes. Tasks which require processing a great deal of data, especially for real time or rapidly-developing applications, are strong use cases for augmented intelligence.

For example, AI has a role to play in market assessment and breakdowns and the development of ideal customer profiles. Crunching through all the data associated with existing customers, appending and enriching it with information from other sources, and predicting factors like lifetime value or lead quality is a task that would be laborious and convoluted for human staff, but it can be easily achieved with augmented intelligence—leaving those human staff free to make rapid, high-context, well-informed choices based off the results.

To successfully exploit augmented intelligence in 2022, there are three major considerations a business must make.

How can we leverage AI in our own organisations?

To successfully exploit augmented intelligence in 2022, there are three major considerations a business must make.

  • Humans and machines excel at different tasks, and you must be able to tell the difference.

We now have access to huge and ever-growing repositories of data, and the demand for real-time results from that data is only growing. Consequently we must improve efficiency, deliver reliable outcomes and reduce per-record overheads as much as possible.

Data scientists need help to extract maximum value from the large quantities of data now available to them, and augmented intelligence is the answer to this complex intersection of expectations and pressures. But decisions and assessments still have to be made in a high-context environment that demands human judgement.

  • The product you use must be the right one to help you achieve your goals.

Any product you use needs to be the right one to support your use case. Often, technology solutions are slick, beautiful and highly specialised. They can be tempting to purchase regardless of whether or not they suit the application you have in mind.

This means you must accurately define the problems for which a solution is sought. Often, this can be the most difficult step.

  • Humans still have a vital role to play.

The rise of the machines often leads to nagging fears about job security – but AI cannot operate alone.

AI can be used to great effect to process huge quantities of information rapidly, eliminating human error and greatly reducing bias, but machine learning is not a panacea to the problem of context. Decision-making and problem-solving still overwhelmingly require human judgement to achieve the best possible outcome.

The goal of augmented intelligence is to help human staff excel. AI should work with humans, assisting and empowering, rather than replacing. The future is in blending the tremendous processing power of AI with the empathy and expertise of human resources to expose new and exciting possibilities.

How does the DCA Data Services team use AI in our own processes?

At DCA, we too leverage augmented intelligence for our internal processes. In 2019, we introduced augmented intelligence to assist our business research experts with data classification, moving from a wholly manual process to a computer-driven one that classifies information in milliseconds. Technology does the heavy lifting for the bulk of records, and human intelligence is reserved for oversight and supervision, as well as judgements required in fringe cases.

If you’d like to learn more about how AI can help your organisation, our data experts are available to answer your questions—contact us here.

About the Author

Martin Soley is Group General Manager Data Services and has over a decades experience across data quality, analytics and related technology in ANZ and abroad. Martin’s strategic insight and expertise drives commercial outcomes for DCA’s varied clients.

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