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How is AI impacting human intelligence?

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If we were to remove all artificial intelligence (AI) that we have today, would humans be able to cope with everyday life?

There would be no Google Maps to ease our commute. No Siri or Alexa to manage our searches and help us schedule appointments. So much is done with AI technology in flight, that Boeing 777 pilots only fly the plane manually for seven minutes.

Without AI:

  • We’d have no automated marketing.
  • No smart sales tools to attract customers.
  • No business insights or process automation.
  • Simple, frequent queries would not be answered by chatbots.

AI takes care of much of our “thinking” for us already. We listen when it tells us what to do, because it’s been right all this time. We could say that AI has made us lazy, but it has also freed us from life’s everyday dull tasks, meaning we have more time to think deeply about social and business problems, and find better ways, if not to avoid them, then to solve them in exciting and innovative ways.

This is where it starts

The AI market is increasing at an astonishing rate. IDC has predicted that it will surpass $79 billion by 2022, and Gartner suggests that AI will be one of the top five investment priorities for over 30% of CIOs by 2020.

This is all starting to happen, and we’re only at the narrow intelligence stage. What happens next, when we start nearing general intelligence? Or even super intelligence?

At the moment, we still outsmart the machines. They provide the data and we decide what to do with it. We tell them what we want them to look for, what they should stop looking for, and how to tell the difference in future. The end goal for general AI, however, is for it to accurately mimic the human brain so that we no longer need to tell machines what to do. What happens to us when that happens?

Trickier than it seems

Before we can answer that, let’s look at the human brain for a moment. While it processes data rapidly, it also applies creativity, intuition, and empathy when making decisions. Machines can’t – and will likely never – recreate human emotion. This is why AI will always need human intelligence to support it.  We are, after all, the ones who created it.

At some point, smart people will create Artificial Neural Networks that will think and act like humans. Machines will analyse complex, real-time data and make their own decisions about what to do. We could have no choice but to accept their decisions because it would take us decades to analyse the data that AI processes in seconds.

In the time it takes Google to calculate your route, AI algorithms will be able to predict natural disasters and alert response teams accordingly. It could analyse your medical history to suggest a personalised treatment plan, increasing your chances of recovery – probably right after your smartwatch tells you to see your doctor immediately because you’re at risk of a heart attack.

AI won’t work without humans

There isn’t much point to AI if there aren’t humans making things happen: emergency teams saving lives, doctors checking patients’ treatment responses, business leaders using AI to transform industries.

AI has given human intelligence the space to grow. In business, SaaS, cloud computing, and process automation has helped reduce the admin load, and has provided the insights and visibility that businesses require to be agile and remain competitive. AI has transformed how businesses manage their staff, operations, and processes, in turn enabling them to provide improved customer service, boost productivity, and drive their businesses into the future with innovative technology.

Human intelligence and artificial intelligence are interdependent and inseparable. One cannot exist without the other. Machines might very well become smarter than us, but isn’t that a good thing? Because when we know what we need to do, we’re agile and get better results. And that’s what we’ve always wanted.