How man and machine can work together in the age of AI

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Jens Martin Skibsted, Partner, Manyone A/S


  • In reskilling employees for the AI age, we can choose to try to be better than robots or to complement them.
  • We should be aiming for a middle-ground, getting the best from both parties’ potential.
  • The future of machine learning should be about how humans and machines can form the best teams.

As the US goes through the biggest loss of jobs in decades, President Donald Trump is proposing to solve matters by decoupling the US’ manufacturing relationship with China and bringing those jobs back to America.

However, there is a significant challenge to that strategy. By and large, manufacturing jobs as we know them are not going to return. Instead, they are set to be replaced by automation and machine learning.

This is not a uniquely American problem. Global population forecasts say we will reach almost 8.5 billion by 2030. Add the exponential speed at which areas such as AI, computational processing power and robotics are developing, and it is safe to predict that our global workforce and the demands we put on it will change markedly in the near future.

Job functions will change rapidly to mirror the pace of technology, so creating a workforce that is educated and ready to adjust to changing demands must be among our priorities.

The form future jobs will take is likely to be shaped by how man and machine end up working together. It remains unclear to what extent the analytical power of machines will replace that of humans. Will the human presence in some job functions become entirely obsolete? Such questions could be better framed.

Image: World Economic Forum

There’s good news for those in creative roles: so far, machines cannot really replicate the imagination. The bad news is for those who have routine, non-creative jobs, as these are indeed being eaten up by automation.

Man can meet machine in two ways

There are two opposing approaches to how we can help the workforce keep up with technological development. One is to boost employees’ analytical skills to compete directly with the machines, the other is to strive to complement machines and artificial intelligence with synthetic skills.

But it is not about polar extremes, nor is it a question of picking one or the other; it is about finding that sweet-spot of how machines and humans work best together. This will not come about by designing the fastest central processing unit (CPU) nor the strongest robot. Instead it will be the fruit of designing the best teams, best processes, and best user experiences.

We should not be sizing up the potential of humans nor machines in isolation, but taking both combined. Designers must look into solutions whereby humans and machines complement each other, maximizing the potential of both.

Why computational power should not be reserved for only the specialists

Garry Kasparov, a Russian chess-master who still holds the record for consecutive professional tournament victories said, “A weak human player plus a machine plus a better process is superior to a very powerful machine alone, but more remarkably, is superior to a strong human player plus machine and an inferior process.”

In the 1990s, Kasparov represented humans versus machines in a historic chess game against IBM’s Deep Blue computer. He went on to observe and participate in various chess contests where teams of man and machines competed against each other.

His conclusion? It is not the team with the most computational power or the highest-ranking grand masters that will win, but the team with the best interplay – the best teamwork.

In 2000, grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik defeated Garry Kasparov and became the Classical World Chess Champion. After retirement, he sought to rekindle human virtuosity in chess. Paradoxically he did so with the help of DeepMind – the makers of the best chess computer so far, AlphaZero, a far more advanced chess computer than Deep Blue. It is self-taught, and since AlphaZero can teach itself to play, it is also able to learn how to play any game by new rules.

It can explore new variants of games and reveal its bugs and beauty more quickly than generations of human play could ever do. It can test all the outcomes of a game and decide if the game is worth playing. Consequently, the human-machine team Kramnik-AlphaZero are exploring new forms of chess that bring about human mastery and aesthetics, and they have come up with all sorts of new and alluring types of chess as a result.

Reimagining the business process

We should not expect the future of machine learning and robotic design to be about humans versus machines but rather how humans and machines can form the best teams. A survey of a thousand companies working with AI published in Harvard Business Review stated in 2018 that, “Most activities at the human-machine interface require people to do new and different things (such as train a chatbot) and to do things differently (use that chatbot to provide better customer service). So far, however, only a small number of the companies we surveyed have begun to reimagine their business processes to optimize collaborative intelligence.”

Today, at least 90,000 of IBM’s 388,000 employees are applying design-thinking methods to develop the company’s business domains – such as AI and CPU. As such, IBM is iterating and experimenting with how they can improve the user’s experience of working with computational power.

The future will not be about creating the fastest CPU or cultivating prototypical employee skills, but it will be about designing the most compatible combinations of humans and machines, and optimising and simplifying the interaction between the two. And the most pioneering companies already know it.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

What we need for a better European Solidarity Corps

Main results of Environment Council of 09 October 2018

EU to scrutinise foreign direct investment more closely

Yemen war: UN-backed talks to silence the guns due to begin in Stockholm

Galileo and EGNOS programmes back in orbit powered with €70 billion

80 adolescents a day will still die of AIDS by 2030, despite slowdown in epidemic

EU-US Trade: European Commission endorses rebalancing duties on US products

Tanzania’s Dual Burden

In Mozambique, it’s ‘a matter of the heart’ says Guterres, lauding the cyclone-struck nation’s ‘undeniable moral authority’

Forty-two countries adopt new OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence

Eliminating hepatitis calls for ‘bold political leadership, with investments to match,’ UN health chief says

Peacekeeping: A ‘great opportunity’ to develop professionally and personally

EU job-search aid worth €2 million for 500 former shipbuilding workers in Spain

The gender gap of medicine in 2018

Scientists are growing meat on blades of grass

These cities score an ‘A’ for environmental action – but hundreds more are falling behind

The world needs a circular economy. Help us make it happen

3 trends that will transform the energy industry

Somalia: UN congratulates Puntland region’s newly-elected President

Climate change is a security threat. We must act now

How powering food storage could end hunger

This Netherlands football stadium creates its own energy and stores it in electric car batteries

Tourism offers much to the EU gets a little

Peace in the Gulf ‘at a critical juncture’ says DiCarlo, urging continuation of Iran nuclear deal

Next six months crucial for the EU, says von der Leyen at the start of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU

Russia must urgently step up fight against foreign bribery

UN forum spotlights cities, where struggle for sustainability ‘will be won or lost’

Corruption thwarts attempts to build a better world and ‘must be fought by all, for all’

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: Strategies and reflections

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

The Amazon is reaching a dangerous tipping-point. We need to scale solutions now if we have any chance of saving it

Developing countries should not be liable for emissions ‘accumulated throughout history’, key UN development forum hears

Green Deal: Coal and other carbon-intensive regions and the Commission launch the European Just Transition Platform

Coronavirus update: UN addresses school disruptions, suspends public access to New York Headquarters

First Western Sahara talks at UN in six years, begin in Geneva

With millions of girls ‘at risk’ today of genital mutilation, UN chief calls for zero tolerance

Historian Niall Ferguson on what the pandemic means for the global economy, geopolitics – and parties

Trade barriers are slowing plastic-pollution action. Here’s how to fix it

Italy’s dilemma after Merkel-Hollande agreed loose banking union

EU: All economic indicators in free fall

Immigration crisis at its very worst: EU to outsource rescue business to North Africa?

Paradise islands of Pacific increasingly vulnerable to climate change, as UN boosts resilience

CEOs say these 4 factors will shape business in 2020

How Google is fighting fire with real-time mapping data

This new initiative aims to make cybercrime harder – and riskier – to commit

As conflicts become more complex, ‘mediation is no longer an option; it is a necessity’, UN chief tells Security Council

Marco Polo’s Dream

BRICS’ New Development Bank turns four: what has it achieved?

The Great Reset and digital trust: 3 lessons on digital tools from the COVID-19 crisis

This is how many people are forcibly displaced worldwide

European Parliament gives green light to Christine Lagarde

Upgraded EU visa information database to increase security at external borders

Is the ECB enforcing the will of the big Eurozone member states on the small? Can the euro area live with that?

EU budget: Commission proposes to increase funding to support the environment and climate action

UN forum to explore use of outer space to improve lives, protect planet

Beyond self-regulation: dealing with Europe’s consumption problem

Factory workers are facing a mental health crisis. Here’s how to respond

The Greta effect? Why businesses are more committed to climate action in 2020

Parenting in the time of COVID-19? Consider these 6 tips from the WHO

To all far-right partisans who exploit Charlie Hebdo atrocity: a peaceful reply given by a peaceful student

More Stings?

Advertising

Trackbacks

  1. […] How man and machine can work together in the age of AI – The European Sting […]

  2. […] The European Sting proposes two solutions for humans and robots to coexist in the workforce. The first is to train the workforce to be able to complement robot systems. That means that we need to make changes to the school curriculum. We need to emphasize the importance of reskilling the workforce. […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s