Collaboration between humans and machines to fight crisis
Professor Thomas Malone leads the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. This center explores “how people and computers can connect so that, collectively, they act more intelligently than any other person, group or computer.” We tend to think of intelligence as a trait in humans that allows us to learn, understand, reason, make decisions and form a certain idea of reality. In a 2019 Deloitte article, Professor Malone defined intelligence as the ability to achieve goals. This suggests a type of specialized intelligence and a more general type of intelligence.
Specialized intelligence would be the ability to achieve objectives in specific situations and general intelligence would involve achieving a wide range of objectives in a large number of situations. Additionally, we have to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI), that can be defined as the science and engineering that enables the development of machines and computer programs capable of solving problems that normally require human intelligence. Malone believes that even the most advanced AI programs possess only one type of specialized intelligence. A five-year-old person has a much more advanced type of general intelligence than the most powerful AI systems.
This is one of the reasons why Malone’s approach, proposing a collective intelligence, is extremely interesting. Malone highlights the immense potential of uniting the two worlds. In fact, Malone explains that almost everything we have done throughout history has not been individually but as groups working together. Looking ahead, in this human-machine collaboration, humans could continue to do what humans do best – create, imagine, decide which of our many goals and projects to prioritize in a world of limited resources – while AI would assist us in our decision making.
A five-year-old person has a much more advanced type of general intelligence than the most powerful AI systems.
An example of the value that AI would bring us could be helping us understand and think about new ways to explore new scientific, medical, economic, geopolitical and ecological spaces that are much more complex and difficult. For this purpose, these coalitions would be formed in which powerful humans and AI machines will collaborate. In this hybrid future, humans augmented by technology would work increasingly with deeper and more powerful intelligences.
In relation to this, Matissa Hollister published an article in the World Economic Forum explaining that in the current COVID-19 crisis, human action and innovation will be particularly critical to harness the power of AI. For both human decision makers and AI systems, each new piece of information about our current situation is particularly valuable in informing our decisions in the future. The more effective we are at sharing such information, the faster we can glimpse the way forward.
In this hybrid future, humans augmented by technology would work increasingly with deeper and more powerful intelligences.
The article includes some extremely interesting project examples such as the “COVID-19 Open Research Dataset” that provides the text of more than 24,000 research articles, the “COVID-net open-access neural network” that works collaboratively to develop a system to identify COVID-19 in lung scanners, and an initiative asking people to donate their anonymous data, represent significant efforts to group data so that AI systems can examine this information and identify patterns. Then it will be essential to apply human knowledge and creativity to make the type of abstractions that machines are not capable of. In conclusion, efforts to harness AI tools during crisis will be most effective when they involve the contribution and collaboration of humans in multidisciplinary teams.
In conclusion, efforts to harness AI tools during crisis will be most effective when they involve the contribution and collaboration of humans in multidisciplinary teams.