Many believe there is another way that technology could develop in the workplace in which people and machines communicate with one another through a shared language and skill set. It is known as augmented intelligence or intelligence amplification (IA). These are systems that can enhance human capabilities by connecting the visual cortex — the best-understood part of the brain — with a computer.
IA is still in its infancy, but its potential uses are endless. In the long term, IA could help humans process larger amounts of data and detail over a shorter time: vital for helping, say, a call center employee to locate a problem in a customer’s account.
IA will also change the finding of tax solutions: an “augmented” human hooked up to a grid could match the right guidance to the right client and situation, far faster.
Those most likely to embrace IA will be young professionals on short-term contracts, says Daniel Araya, Hult-Ashridge Research Fellow at the Global Center for Disruptive Innovation in San Francisco.
That makes sense, given that the workforce of the future is likely to be scattered around the world, with individuals paid on a piecework basis by companies and institutions.
“Most of your employees will not be sitting at a set location doing the same thing,” says EY’s Steadman. “Instead, companies will communicate via crowdsourcing or work management tools, handing out tasks to a virtual network of employees.”
IA will also likely prove the best way to keep machines from replacing humans entirely at work in the future.
“Adding capabilities to the biological human is the best way to empower our existing labor force and to ensure that they perform tasks better than computers,” says Araya.
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