In the Age of AI, is Human Intelligence Essential?  

Human intelligence

Businesses today are transforming at a rapid pace. Relying on human intellect alone to make decisions is not enough. Hence, business leaders are significantly increasing investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to drive better decisions. The 2022 IBM Global AI Adoption Index states that AI applications have continued to grow at a stable pace in 2022 with more than one-third (35%) of companies reporting the use of AI in their businesses – a four-point increase from 2021.

Unlike humans, AI can analyze, predict, and navigate business problems with unmatched efficacy and accuracy. Thus, rendering jobs that involve repetitive tasks obsolete. This leads to the forbidding notion – is AI replacing human intelligence? The answer is quite the opposite.

Several human jobs have been automated with the help of AI such as analyzing vast datasets, providing customer service, etc. Thus, freeing human resources to focus on more creative aspects such as research, innovation, and growth. Having said that, AI alone cannot achieve absolute autonomy without the help of humans. A combination of effective AI systems combined with human intellect will pave the path to success for businesses in the future.

Success will be in combining Human Intelligence & AI

As AI advances, there is a possibility of it turning into a ‘black box’ that can be challenging to interpret. Hence, data scientists have begun employing frameworks for the explainability of their models. Explainable AI allows human users to comprehend the intent, reasoning, and decision-making process of a machine learning algorithm, thus boosting users’ trust in the model and the decisions made by it. Moreover, it promotes and ensures adherence to well-defined ethical guidelines regarding fundamental values such as individual rights, privacy, non-discrimination, and non-manipulation.

Take the use case of fraud detection in banking systems. Suppose a fraud system declines a legitimate customer’s credit card transaction. A ‘black box’ AI model would simply provide a risk score, without an explanation. Whereas explainable AI would help investigators understand why there was a false positive and help further refine the model.

Another loophole is that AI lacks emotion and the ability to make human decisions. As AI-led technologies continue to develop and evolve in the future, it is important to put humans at the core of all advances. We may reach a time when AI will be capable of thinking for itself. But it will continue to rely on human involvement to make conscious decisions. For example, take the case of self-driving cars, which use radio frequencies to determine objects around the car. Numerous factors could interfere with this, including radio waves from another self-driving vehicle, in turn leading to accidents. This goes to show that AI is limited without human participation.

Therefore, building the right foundation today is critical. As societies, governments, and industries we need to set the right ethics, regulations, and safeguards around AI to ensure that 100 years from now, the future of AI is one that is to the benefit of humanity and not to its detriment. Human intellect augmented by AI can lead to a future where AI is more of an enabler than a disruptor. The focus needs to be more on developing ‘intelligent’ systems than artificial ones to help businesses succeed.


Mihir Kittur, Co-Founder and Chief Commercial Officer of Ugam, a Merkle company

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