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Dec 19, 2017

Artificial Intelligence won’t likely lead to the decimation of workforces and the cannibalization of businesses. Regardless of what new technological advances emerge in the years to come, machines will always encounter challenges that require human judgment, expertise, and insight. They will need us as much as we need them!

AI + HI: Understanding the True Driver of Cognitive Advantage

There’s little doubt that AI is already shifting business realities—and this goes well beyond the much-cited examples of using enhanced predictive analytics to deliver personalized consumer solutions. In the financial services space, for instance, machine learning is transforming customer support, automating routine transactions, and vastly accelerating data processing. Similarly, deep learning algorithms are using advanced image recognition capabilities to validate identities, authenticate insurance claims, and reduce fraud.

Yet despite its enormous promise, AI can only reach its true potential if it’s used in combination with human intelligence (HI). Cognitive Advantage, as we are defining it, is the effective co-deployment of both Artificial Intelligence and Human Intelligence to drive maximum efficiency and highest value-potential.

“To foster this perfect balance, companies need to assess how to use AI to enhance the end-user experience, reconceive how they run the business, and guide them through the ideal deployment of disruptive technologies,” says Paul Skippen, a Partner in Deloitte Risk Advisory’s Cognitive, AI and Robotics practice. “On the flip side, they must also determine the role HI will play in monitoring AI technologies to ensure they remain on course.”

Before a business can craft this type of strategy, it needs to ensure that everyone is speaking the same language. This means re-examining the term “cognitive” and the terminology that surrounds it.

Essentially, if AI is an umbrella term that covers all transformative technologies—including deep learning, predictive analytics, robotics, and cognitive—cognitive is the narrow focus area that describes when a computer interacts, acts, and understands like a human. This focus area is comprised of three key pillars—cognitive automation and robotics, cognitive insights, and cognitive engagement. When you have all three pillars firmly in place, you can realize what we like to call the “cognitive advantage”—optimized performance of both humans and machines.

Robotics & cognitive automation

The first pillar of a cognitive advantage strategy involves implementing the right technologies to effectively replicate human actions and judgments.

In this context, the term “robotics” refers to such things as robotic process automation (RPA)—rules-based systems that mimic human behaviour to automate parts of repeatable processes (e.g. control checks and regulatory reporting). For its part, cognitive automation includes:

  • Business process modelling tools—applications that optimize business operations through decision logic modelling, simulation testing, and the identification of process inefficiencies (e.g. regulatory controls and internal audit workflows); and
  • Natural language generation (NLG)—applications that accept structured data inputs to generate seemingly unstructured narratives.

When cognitive automation and robotics are optimized, organizations can realize transformational change resulting from improved efficiencies, increased enterprise flexibility, and new competencies by deploying existing talent into higher-value tasks.

Cognitive insights

The second pillar towards realizing a cognitive advantage involves identifying opportunities for growth, diversification, and increased efficiencies. This is done by generating cognitive insights—namely, employing large-scale organizational intelligence capable of detecting patterns in, and analyzing, multiple data sources.

This involves the deployment of various AI and deep learning applications such as:

  • Machine learning—applications that improve predictability and operation based on the data they receive over time;
  • Predictive analytics—software solutions using predictive models, such as compliance risk models; and
  • Augmented intelligence—applications able to mimic human behaviour, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and language translation.

When executed correctly, cognitive insights can lead to new growth and easier-to-identify innovation opportunities; more informed, evidence-based business decisions; and real-time decision making.

Cognitive engagement

The third element needed to create a cognitive advantage involves leveraging your technological applications and cognitive insights to amplify the end-user experience by means of intelligent agents, avatars and the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem. One example of a solution that falls under the cognitive engagement pillar could include a “virtual” booth attendant at a trade show that looks and acts like a real person, but is actually an image projected onto human-shaped glass.

This pillar of cognitive delivers insights that are smarter, more personalized, and scalable—allowing organizations to optimize end-user behaviour, offer a more interactive experience, and engage end users in a whole new way.

The cognitive advantage

When viewed in this context, it becomes clear that embracing AI doesn’t have to be something to fear. Success, however, hinges on an organization’s ability to marry AI with HI. The key is to use AI as a tool to enhance the human experience—rather than diminish it—by properly training people to supervise robots, for instance, or interpreting deep learning data in a human context. Organizations that adopt this type of approach will inevitably be rewarded with increased productivity, unprecedented customer engagement, and a significantly more innovative and invested workforce. As a result, they can not only boost their bottom lines, but ward off disruption as well.

To learn more about how we can help your organization effectively deploy both Artificial and Human Intelligence together—please drop me a line.

Paul Skippen

[email protected]


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