Or it will be your buddy and augment and enhance your abilities…
👋 Hi there! Nick here from bundleIQ — My co-founder, Jeff Robbins, decided to join the Medium party and is thrilled to start contributing starting with this post. A quick intro — Jeff and I met in 2015 over an acai bowl, became quick friends, and decided to launch bundleIQ years later. He’s a seasoned entrepreneur with multiple exits and a passion for storytelling. If you like what you read, show Jeff some love by giving the story a clap, leaving a comment, or asking a question. Enjoy!
From Humans to Machines: The Evolution of Work
First, there was us, humans.
We just squiggled around a little in the bushes.
Then came fire. Sure, it kept us warm and protected, and we could finally get our steaks well done, but it didn’t really help us with work. All work produced came through the efforts of humans.
Plenty of jobs to go around.
We were the original energy source.
Then we began to domesticate animals. Again, they kept us warm and protected, but they also did our work. They carried us and pulled us. They help us lift and drag bigger objects.
Eventually, they helped us plow our fields and grow food.
Animals and humans, working together, became the dominant energy source. We advanced as a society. We used animals to augment our efforts, and we became more.
Then came coal. And machines.
- In 1500 more than 90% of all mechanical energy was produced by people and animals
- by 1850 50% of all mechanical energy came from animals, about 35% from people, and the rest from windmills, water wheels, and steam
- by 1950 machines and engines supplied 80% of all mechanical energy¹
We move fast.
Machines became the dominant force producing more and more mechanical energy to support modern life. Sure, we had a machine to help us add and subtract, but for the most part, machines replaced labor. Machines were able to produce greater amounts of work more efficiently.
Jobs were lost to automation, but value was created through the production of goods and efficiencies gained during work hours.
A New Machine Arrives
The history of work is humans outsourcing labor to a cheaper or more efficient labor source. First, it was animals. Then industrial machines. Most of this outsourcing replaced manual labor or low-skilled jobs. But with the widespread acceptance of a new machine, white-collar jobs began to be replaced.
The arrival of the computer set us on the path toward AI.
What is Artificial Intelligence? When Are Machines Better And Worse Than Humans
Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead. — Kyle Reese | Terminator
No worries. Nothing AI-driven is coming to get you yet, except maybe your Tesla.
But AI is here, and you’ve been using it for years.
In general terms, AI is the simulation of human intelligence, thought processes, and data analysis by machines using computer science and algorithms applied to a dataset.
It’s machines and programs that appear to think but are really just following instructions based upon the analysis of tons and tons of data.
It makes complex tasks — like analyzing and collecting massive amounts of data — easier. No lunch breaks. No sick days. It just cranks through the data sets 24/7. It’s great at pattern recognition (think facial IDs), NLP or natural language processing (think chatbot), and scanning an environment, and implementing tasks in response (think self-driving or Roomba).
What does that leave us humans?
- Common sense — Computers won’t adjust their findings to fit a situation. They will continue to crunch the data and bring forth solutions. These solutions are based on the data. Bad or biased data in and you get bad results. The computer will not adjust.
- Creative Work — While AI can take large data sets of writing, or ads, or art and create new works based upon given criteria, it can’t make the intuitive leap that creates something entirely new. It won’t create an ‘Eureka Moment’. It won’t get a spark of inspiration from an apple bouncing off his head which inspired Newton to develop the laws of gravity.
- Dynamic Learning— Humans have a great capacity to learn and to adjust and to apply lessons learned in one area to other applicable areas. It’s connecting the dots between two disparate bits of information. It’s smashing together peanut butter and chocolate.
- Humans can feel, judge, anticipate, and adjust between long-term goals and short-term goals instantly. AI just cranks through its data. It can’t make decisions that are not reflected in the data it’s pointed at.
What Is Augmented Intelligence?
Ai or augmented intelligence is a subset of AI but the machine learning in augmented intelligence is focused and used to enhance humans’ intellectual abilities and not replace humans. AI operates independently, analyzing data. Augmented Intelligence operates with humans giving people the information they need, when they need it, to make the intuitive leap that leads to Eureka Moments.
Humans are the catalyst.
We can direct it.
This is your brain on steroids.
In 2005 Playchess created a chess tournament with teams of grandmasters using computer-assisted augmented intelligence. The expected results were that the highest-rated group of grandmasters would win since the computer assistance would be relatively equal.
That is not what happened.
Instead, a group of two amateur chess players using three computers won. They were not the most knowledgeable on chess but they were the most knowledgeable about creating a working team between humans and computers.
This is Augmented Intelligence. Humans + machines + a strong collaborative process equals success. The future of work will be built around teams. And your team will consist of an Augmented Intelligent computer or software. Learning how to work with Ai will make you more efficient and productive. And hopefully, the insights gained from the computer will allow you and your team to use all of your human qualities — emotions, empathy, experience, and anticipation, — to bring out better results.
Hopefully, AI will help you find your ‘Eureka Moment’.
We Don’t Go Backwards
Data is changing how the world and business work. We’re swamped minute by minute with more and more data. The amount of data created, captured, and consumed by 2025 is projected to be 180 zettabytes.
How big is a zettabyte?
A zettabyte is 1,000 exabytes, and one exabyte is 1,000 petabytes. Each petabyte is 1,000 terabytes. A zettabyte is enough storage for 30 billion 4K movies, or 60 billion video games, or 7.5 trillion MP3 songs. If you wanted 3 zettabytes of storage at home, you’d need to hook up 300 million 10TB hard drives.
We can’t manage and learn from the data without AI. It’s just too much. We need the help.
By 2030 predictions are that AI will contribute $15.7 trillion in value to the world economy. But it will also replace millions of jobs worldwide. Those that learn to incorporate Artificial Intelligence in the form of Augmented Intelligence into their workflow will prosper.
Teams that combine expert workers, with machines, with leaders comfortable with Augmented Intelligence will solve our most pressing problems.
You will either be run over by Artificial Intelligence as an individual, a team or a company, or you will embrace Augmented Intelligence, manage your data — including data that you may not even know about — and make intuitive leaps solving problems in creative ways.
Buddy up. It’s the only alternative.
tl;dr — This article discusses the history of work and how it has been augmented over the years. It explains that AI is a simulation of human intelligence created through computer science and algorithms applied to data sets. It also explores Augmented Intelligence which uses machine learning to enhance humans’ intellectual abilities rather than replace them. Finally, it argues that those who embrace Augmented Intelligence will be able to use their human qualities such as emotions, empathy, experience, and anticipation to solve problems in creative ways.
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