Where AI once equated to artificial intelligence, we are now beginning to talk about it in reference to augmented intelligence. Augmented intelligence is resulting in adaptive systems and intelligent tools which can be applied or used to facilitate the jobs carried out by people, as such, it is driving an evolution of the role of people in the workplace. But which industries are seeing the impact of augmented intelligence the most and what will this mean for the humans working in those industries?
The uptake of augmented intelligence is happening on a market by market-basis, with the financial services sector among the first to adopt intelligent systems, which are having a dramatic impact on the industry. In commercial markets, traders are moving away from watching the market, plugging data into their models and executing trades. Instead, traders are overseeing the intelligent systems and components that are spotting trading opportunities and will make those trades. This is freeing traders up to help guide and define what makes a ‘good’ trade and help to develop the rule-base that the intelligent systems are using to evolve different strategies and adopt different approaches. Traders are therefore moving away from execution and, instead, taking on more strategic and less tactical roles.
More and more, the intelligent systems are not only handling the execution, but they are also spotting opportunities and providing tools and capabilities that make it easier for traders to see these. This is taking strategies that were once the realm of highly specialised teams and making them widely available to the trading community. This is something that we are have already seen across more strategy-driven trading institutions, such as hedge funds, and means that highly quantitative, analytical trading strategies are being more commonly adopted as organisations don’t need a team of highly qualified people building models to identify opportunities. As a result, it’s much easier to have highly intelligent adaptive systems that are supporting people who don’t have specialised analytical skills to use those tools and techniques to support day-to-day trading activity. In the financial services sector and beyond, augmented intelligence is bringing much more sophisticated capabilities and the ability to apply those sophisticated capabilities in more generalised environments.
As software tools become more intelligent and get more capabilities built into them, we are seeing fewer people writing low-level code that creates the fundamental building blocks for IT systems and more people are assembling pre-built components in ways to meet novel demand. What we are seeing is the way in which these pre-built components operate provides more intelligent capabilities, and consequently make it easier and faster for people to build systems that incorporate those capabilities. Rather than having a team of data scientists on tap to build augmented intelligence models, for example, it’s becoming easier to have components that you incorporate into a data workflow which will automatically construct models to perform certain functions, such as the de-identification of data.
Realising greater value
Particularly in businesses that use engineering and development processes, where it is important to get things right the first time, augmented intelligence has the potential to help businesses and industries realise even greater value. In these situations, there are big costs involved with going beyond modelling and design, into the production stages and getting it wrong. This is especially true if the business is making tangible goods with tooling costs associated with those goods, as consequently, the cost of getting it wrong is high. Therefore, as augmented intelligence helps people produce better quality products and performs a number of checks to ensure they are right, it drastically improves the likelihood of getting things right the first time and, as a result, reduces the cost of bringing new or changed products to market.
One thing we are hearing more regularly is that we are now entering a phase of augmented intelligence acting as an ‘extension of a human being’ – a theory demonstrated by the likes of Tesla and Google within the field of intelligent or self-driving cars. There is a vast amount of intelligence going into building the capabilities of intelligent cars to identify risks and enable the cars to automatically take action when they identify hazards in order to support the driver. This, therefore, augments the ability of the driver to operate safely and efficiently in those environments allows the car to operate in a much more sophisticated way.
Broadly speaking, augmented intelligence is still in its infancy and we are only just scratching the surface of what it can offer society and organisations. The ability to really shorten the decision-making process and bring more appropriate information and present it in a timelier manner, in a way that hasn’t been possible to date, will revolutionise the way in which society operates. As augmented intelligence continues to be adopted by new markets, we will see its impact ever more clearly, affecting not only industry but all aspects of our society.