REVIEWED BY
Artem Oppermann | Nov 09, 2022

Want to stay involved when using artificial intelligence technologies versus worrying about being replaced by AI?

Then you may want to consider an augmented intelligence approach to AI.

Augmented Intelligence vs. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence seeks to automate processes, delve deep into data to yield answers and operate autonomously. Augmented intelligence uses AI but in a fashion where humans are kept in the loop and play a key role in making decisions.

 

What Is Augmented Intelligence?

Augmented intelligence is designed to work with humans to enhance their capabilities, rather than remove humans from the picture.

It relies on machine learning and deep learning to crunch through reams and reams of data, which humans then use to make decisions and take action.

“Artificial intelligence is one of many, many different technologies, and augmented intelligence is a manifestation or outcome of how you choose to implement those AI technologies.”

In retail, for instance, augmented intelligence can suggest the optimal store layout and product placement to merchandisers based on shopper data, such as foot traffic patterns. And the medical field is also benefiting from augmented intelligence, with surgeons and healthcare providers receiving recommendations on patient treatments based on a mountain of medical data, research and the patient’s own medical record history.

“Artificial intelligence is one of many, many different technologies, and augmented intelligence is a manifestation or outcome of how you choose to implement those AI technologies,” Frances Karamouzis, a distinguished VP analyst at research firm Gartner, told Built In.

Augmented intelligence is like a particular qualifier on the goal of AI, said Subbarao Kambhampati, professor at the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence at Arizona State University.

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Augmented Intelligence vs. Artificial Intelligence: What’s the Difference?

The goal of AI is to show intelligent behavior that mimics the human mind and can ultimately automate processes and make decisions without any human intervention. (This goal, however, has yet to be reached.)

Augmented intelligence is designed to show intelligent behavior too, but its differentiator is working with humans to improve the task to be done or decision to be made, said Heni Ben Amor, associate professor at Arizona State University’s School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence.

Social intelligence, as it pertains to technology, is a feature of augmented intelligence that allows for the understanding of both the task and actions that the human is seeking to do before they do it, Kambhampati said.

AI systems don’t need to have much social intelligence because they are designed to work autonomously. But with augmented intelligence, social intelligence is required because it needs to give humans explanations about what it is doing and allow people to advise it about what it should be doing in a way similar to how humans interact with one another, Kambhampati explained.

“If I want a future where we are essentially replaced, then this is the future we are inventing with AI systems ... But if I want a future where humans have a productive role to play, then augmented intelligence will become more and more increasingly important.”

In further comparing the use of augmented intelligence with autonomous AI, there is a distinct difference between machines working with humans and machines working with other machines because the latter, at some point in time, results in an AI hive mind or collective intelligence, said Kambhampati.

When teamed with humans, augmented intelligence systems have the benefit “of a bigger picture on common sense,” which AI systems tend to lack due to their deep and narrow view of data and information, he said. For example, two supercomputers programmed to play chess may attempt to finish the game despite a fire in their office, whereas a supercomputer playing chess against a human would be instructed by the human to turn itself off. 

“If I want a future where we are essentially replaced, then this is the future we are inventing with AI systems,” Kambhampati said. “But if I want a future where humans have a productive role to play, then augmented intelligence will become more and more increasingly important.”

Most people are comfortable with augmented intelligence and having humans remaining in the mix for the decision-making process, Ben Amor said.

He believes AI with full autonomy is at least a decade away, but added it depends on how much autonomy society ultimately wants to give it.

 

Examples of Augmented Intelligence

Tesla vehicles use augmented intelligence. Although they can largely navigate roads on autopilot, there are times when they require human intervention in certain emergencies, like cars suddenly pulling into the driver’s lane or slamming on the brakes on short notice.

 

Data visualization company RadiusAI uses augmented intelligence to suggest to retailers where bottlenecks are occurring in their stores that could impede sales or where product placements may get more notice, relying on humans to then make those changes.

 

VisualDx’s augmented intelligence culls through its expansive curated medical image library. With this technology, dermatologists receive recommendations about the types of skin diseases and skin problems that may be affecting their patients.

 

Biotech company Freenome uses biological analysis of data sets to cull through blood tests looking for early warning signs of cancer with its augmented intelligence technology. With the enhanced blood test results, physicians are armed with additional information to treat patients.

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