March 31, 2020
Technology and business circles are abuzz with debate about whether artificial intelligence will cause machines to take over jobs traditionally held by humans. So far, experts have hardly arrived at a consensus.
Elon Musk of SpaceX and OpenAI holds the pessimistic view that machine cognition will allow robots to replace every human in the labor force. On the other side of the debate is Amazon’s Jeff Bezos — who believes that machines are simply not suited for many of the tasks performed by humans.
So, are machines replacing human intelligence?
Deep Blue and the Limitations of AI
To understand the capabilities of available AI tech, it helps to go back to a case where machine intelligence bested one of the brightest minds humanity had to offer. In 1997, the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeated world champion Garry Kasparov in a chess tournament.
At the time, several experts took this event as a sign that AI had surpassed human intelligence, rendering people obsolete in cognitive tasks across the economy. As we know today, the AI revolution that Deep Blue promised never came. Why?
Machines and Humans Have Different Strengths
Existing AI like Deep Blue is narrow. While great at computational tasks like playing chess or analyzing markets, AI engines struggle with creativity and complex social roles — such as motivating a flustered employee or soothing an angry client. Machines simply do not have the skills to fulfil all the diverse jobs in the economy. Fortunately, where machines fail, humans often succeed.
The human mind stands out in interpersonal relationships, abstract thought, innovation, and generalizing disparate information. Meanwhile, machines are remarkable at completing predictable, repetitive, and computational tasks quickly and at scale. Since humans and narrow AI clearly excel in different areas, it is unlikely that one will replace the other.
Artificial intelligence works best with human intelligence.
Examples of Human-Machine Collaboration
Situations where humans are working alongside AI are all around us. Here are some important examples of these human-machine collaborations.
Amazon’s Collaborative Robots
Amazon has equipped some of its largest warehouses and fulfillment centers with so-called cobots (collaborative robots) that handle some repetitive and physically demanding tasks like item identification and retrieval. Human workers are left with the more subjective tasks like flagging fragile items and choosing appropriate packing materials.
Voice-populating police reports
GreenKey’s AI-powered Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology is transforming day-to-day operations for public safety professionals. Police officers typically spend up to 39% of their time on tedious paperwork, but with GreenKey they can automatically fill out reports while driving using their voice, and in doing so, save 2 hours per day. What’s more, GreenKey’s NLP technology can automatically highlight police codes, address information, and critical dangers from spoken conversations, enabling officers to do their jobs quickly and more efficiently.
Making better trading decisions
GreenKey’s NLP technology also empowers financial markets professionals by unlocking conversations across trading desks. Our NLP engine understands complex trader jargon and extracts quote and trade data from text and audio files. Using this information, we generate deep customer insights that allow sales and trading professionals to make better informed, data-driven decisions.
Raytheon’s Target Acquisition Technology
In the defense industry, machine learning (ML) programs are often used to improve surveillance and target acquisition. For example, Raytheon’s ISTAR product equips aircraft with AI and sensors that identify and track targets in disaster sites, battlefields, and other areas of operation. With machines handling tracking and targeting roles, military personnel are free to focus on the more human tasks, such as communicating with survivors and negotiating with combatants.
The role of AI in the workplace
Ultimately, it is difficult to predict what the future holds, but one thing for certain is that artificial intelligence does not replace humans at work. Instead, machines are used to automate repetitive, mundane tasks —allowing humans more time to focus on complex and interesting projects.
Learn more about how GreenKey is leveraging AI and NLP to automate workflows, increase efficiency and generate actionable intelligence across financial markets and the public safety sector.