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Augmented decision making vs. artificial intelligence, part II

Decision-making in the networked age.


In Part I of this article, I highlighted the differences between artificial intelligence (AI) and intelligence augmentation (HCI). The two are often confused. While there have been advances in both areas, HCI breakthroughs are revolutionizing decision-making in our personal and business lives.

By comparison, though AI has captured the imaginations of futurists, science fiction writers and attracted investors, there is as yet no evidence that the algorithm-based models required for higher level AI will be able to replicate the autonomous decision-making abilities of the human brain in the future.


  • If humans remain in charge, with HCI helping accelerate and improve our decision-making processes, this means humans won’t be supplanted by AI autonomous decision makers in the work environment.
  • Assuming the patterns of previous tech revolutions hold true, new jobs will emerge as HCI advances. For example, manufacturing automation resulted in job loss at first but eventually produced more jobs than were lost.
  • It appears that human work requires more than deductive reasoning. It also requires flexibility, intuition and non-rational insights to connect facts ways that elude the smartest, fastest computers.
  • Looking at it a different way, the most advanced AI systems lack a scope of awareness beyond what they are taught. They ignore out-of-context risks, creating hazards that human decision makers intuitively know to avoid.

Decision-making in the networked age

Joshua Cooper Ramo recently published the critically acclaimed best seller, “The Seventh Sense” in which he makes the case that HCI is revolutionizing knowledge transfer, commerce, and politics. He believes that HCI breakthroughs will require big changes in government, private sector, and individual decision-making. He believes we’re “at a turning point as important as that of the Age of Enlightenment, into a new era increasing trade and prosperity, longer lifespans, and greater individual autonomy.”

Developments, already in progress, include the following–

  • Constant connectivity will destabilize previously secure institutions and old ways of doing business.
  • Networks, not individual organizations or individual people, define our new reality.
  • Big Data/Taste Analytics offer great opportunity to those willing to look at any object (not limited, by any means, to the Internet of Things) to envision new kinds of connection. Uber and Airbnb are examples. Economic survival will increasingly require this level of imagination.
  • He envisions ‘gatelands’ that protect users, even entire nations, from those outside one’s own domain. He believes we have to work actively to achieve this if we want our democratic values of freedom of thought, political choice and privacy to prevail.
  • The downside, as mentioned in previous posts, that we must work to overcome is the increasing vulnerability of systems to malicious hacking and the seductive online appeal of divisive, violent philosophies and groups like ISIS.

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