This is what a human-centred approach to AI technology could look like

(Credit: Unsplash)

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

Author: Karthik Krishnan, Global CEO, Britannica Group

  • Augmented Intelligence is an approach to integrating people and technology harmoniously.
  • We need to control future forms of advanced technologies better than we have smartphones.
  • This way we can amplify our own cognitive capabilities while enjoying many other benefits such as increased convenience.

There’s a pervasive concern today that people are becoming obsolete. The cause and the culprit? Technology.

What is technology really doing to our minds, lives and livelihoods? For instance, many fret about a jobless future, screen addiction and humans being replaced by robots and algorithms.

So, are humans expendable? Is technology exposing human limitations while diminishing valuable faculties like cognitive reasoning and creativity?

Our personal technologies do seem to be making us dumber. The smartphone – still barely a decade old – allows us to confidently go to a place that was once deemed science fiction. We can connect with a loved one in a far corner of the earth over FaceTime, order a pizza from the comfort of our home, and summon a taxi – all at the same time if we wish.

In sum, we might all feel like James Bond. But these superpowers have come at a cost because of how we have approached them so far.

Technology today can perform better repetitive tasks and rapid calculations than humans in areas as diverse as processing loan applications, trading stocks, making salads and driving trains.—Karthik Krishnan

Smart phones, weak minds

Phones shape our thoughts even when we’re not using them. As the brain grows dependent on technology, the intellect becomes weaker.

  • One study found that when phones beep in the middle of a challenging task, people’s focus wavers and their work gets sloppier – whether they check the phone or not.
  • Another study showed that when people hear their phone ring but are unable to answer, their blood pressure rises, pulse quickens, and problem-solving skills decline.
  • A third study found that the mere presence of a smartphone “reduces available cognitive capacity.”

The very same smartphones that were supposed to given us an unprecedented degree of power have taken over our brains, robbing us of our cognitive edge.

Let’s do AI differently to how we did phones

The growth in computing power, reduced data-storage costs and increased ability to measure activities with data is driving exponential growth in the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

AI is making decisions that are affecting our lives whether we like it or not. AI applications shape our environment by deciding what we see and do. From social media feeds to the news and movies we tune into, we are being taken down an algorithmic path.

A whole host of jobs, particularly those that involve repetition or rapid calculation, will become automated. Technology can perform better repetitive tasks and rapid calculations than humans in areas as diverse as processing loan applications, trading stocks, making salads and driving trains.

At the same time, technology has created jobs that didn’t even exist a year ago: the influencer marketer, the TikTok content creator, the drone operator and the Instacart delivery associate among them.

Investment capital is today learning how to replace human capital with technology. The current tax system also creates an incentive to accelerate this trend. A $100 investment in an employee comes with $30 in associated tax, while a similar investment in technology results in $3 in tax.

Enabling and empowering humans: it is possible to do both

One promising development has been the emergence of “augmented intelligence”; not yet a household term like AI, it is however gaining acceptance as one approach to integrating people and technology harmoniously.

Augmented Intelligence is not so much a new technology as a way of taming and harnessing AI, and freeing up bandwidth for human creativity and innovation. Augmented Intelligence (humans plus technology) will help design and redesign jobs to improve employee happiness, efficiency and safety.

One of Britannica’s visions is to transform learning inside and outside classrooms by inspiring curiosity and instilling the joy of learning. Teachers – who are key enablers in realising this vision – spend a significant amount of time preparing for class, asserting control and marking assignments. While these activities are necessary, they don’t do enough to unleash student potential.

Let’s assume it takes five minutes for a teacher to mark one assignment, and there are 20 kids in his class; that’s one hour 40 minutes of work. But what if technology could not only do the marking but also provide rich insights?

Take this particular case: you and I take the same quiz of 10 questions – you get all 10 answers right, and I do too. Just based on that data, the two of us are comparable. What if you answered those 10 questions in five minutes, and I took 20 minutes? That data suggests you understand the concepts better than I do.

Or what if I got nine questions right in eight minutes, but then spent 12 minutes on just one of them? It’s worthwhile for the teacher to know that I struggled so much with one of the questions.

With rich insights such as these – which could have only been garnered via technology – teachers will be able to adopt an outcome-oriented, personalised approach to teaching. Students will benefit from more individualised attention regarding their learning and wellness; the most exciting and fulfilling parts of a teacher’s job.

Augmented Intelligence is currently being applied to medicine, pharmacology and sales, among other fields. In a number of areas, it is expected to create more jobs than it will eliminate.

If we control it well, technology can make our lives easier by building convenience and amplifying our cognitive capabilities. Medical procedures will become less invasive; utilities in our homes will genuflect to our voice commands or read into our unstated preferences; and our cars will navigate all by themselves.

AI holds the key to a better future for humankind because it aims to develop systems that make humans better, not obsolete.

That said, it will take concerted efforts on many levels to achieve this goal. These include changes in individual attitudes, business planning, sensible public policies and candid public discourse. Let’s foster a human-centric technology mindset and rally organisations to keep people in the driver’s seat and not lose our human edge.

the sting Milestones

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

Remarks by High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the EU-China Strategic Dialogue

EU adopts €130 million support package for Syrian refugees and local communities in Jordan and Lebanon

From coca to cocoa: three lessons from Peru on how farmers can leave the drug trade behind

A more credible, dynamic, predictable and political EU accession process – Commission lays out its proposals

Here’s how blockchain could stop corrupt officials from stealing school lunches

UN rights expert calls for civilian protection as fighting escalates between military and armed group

Why sustainable packaging is good for profits as well as the planet

The big five EU telecom operators in dire straights

Palliative care and Universal Health Coverage: Do not leave those suffering behind

Chart of the day: This is why we need to protect nature’s pollinators

EU supports recovery and resilience in Nigeria with additional €50 million

Plastic is a global problem. It’s also a global opportunity

State aid: Commission approves €12.835 million Italian aid measure to compensate Alitalia for further damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

Over 80 per cent of schools in anglophone Cameroon shut down, as conflict worsens

COVID-19: MEPs debate how to best protect cross-border and seasonal workers

The EU risks trade relations with China over the Tata hype about steel

5G will drive Industry 4.0 in the Middle East and Africa

July was the hottest month ever – what does that actually mean?

EU-Japan relations: Foreign Affairs MEPs back Strategic Partnership Agreement

Cameron postpones speech in Holland

Electronic cigarette – is it really a safer alternative to smoking?

International tourism arrivals hit record high in 2017, UN agency reports

Do not take the EP’s consent on MFF for granted, says Budget Committee Chair

Media freedom: EP warns of attempts to silence critics and undermine pluralism

Towards the new era of medicine

Has the treacherous theory about the ‘French patient’ finally prevailed?

European Agenda on Migration: Still fragile situation gives no cause for complacency

Progress made at COP25, despite lack of agreement to increase climate ambition

Refugee crisis update: EU lacks solidarity as migration figures drop

State aid: Commission approves €10 billion German scheme to compensate companies for damages suffered due to coronavirus outbreak

‘Extinction crisis’ pushes countries to agree stronger protection for global wildlife

How the ‘California effect’ could shape a global approach to ethical AI

North Korea: ‘Time to talk human rights’, says UN expert

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

14 innovative projects helping to save the planet and make the world a better place

EU Top Jobs summit ended with no agreement: welcome to Europe’s quicksand!

State aid: Commission approves €133 million Portuguese liquidity support to SATA airline; opens investigation into other public support measures

UN rights office appeals for peaceful Zimbabwe elections amid reports of intimidation

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Argentina Accepts KP Amendment

Anti-vaccine sentiment one of 10 biggest health threats, says WHO

UN chief ‘commends’ leadership of Greece and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as name dispute draws to final close

Investing in working conditions and quality jobs

There’s no vaccine for the infodemic – so how can we combat the virus of misinformation?

Estonian Prime Minister Ratas: Europe is a thought that must become a feeling

Governments should step up their efforts to give people skills to seize opportunities in a digital world

Brazil: A strategic partner for the EU

A vaccination race between nations can have no winners

COVID-19 and indigenous peoples in Brazil: a neglected population and the importance of the vaccine

European Semester 2018 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and long-term growth

UN condemns deadly attack one of its vehicles

Amid ‘unprecedented combination’ of epidemics, UN and partners begin cholera vaccination campaign in DR Congo

5 neuroscience hacks that will make you happier

Help African farmers cope with climate change threats, UN food agency urges

Forests ‘essential’ for the future, UN agriculture chief spells out in new report

A Sting Exclusive: Disaster risk resilience, key to protecting vulnerable communities

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

3 things to know about India’s space programme

Migration Crisis: how to open the borders and make way for the uprooted

FROM THE FIELD: Murals help heal wounds of bloody conflict in Guatemala

Driving structural change through global value chains integration

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

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

You are commenting using your 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