Cogito Blog

Intelligence Augmentation: The Catalyst for the Future of Work

Dr. John Kane

In part one of this series, John Kane, Distinguished Scientist, Machine Learning at Cogito, discusses the growing disillusionment around AI and the need to define its purpose. In this installment, he will dive into the benefits of IA (aka Intelligence Augmentation or Augmented Intelligence) technology, including how it can enhance employees’ abilities to be more emotionally intelligent and perceptive.


Humans — no matter how hard we try — are not, and will never be, perfect. We lose our keys, we forget to buy milk, and we make missteps in nearly every aspect of our lives. But our biggest shortcomings as humans often come in professional settings and are the result of compounding factors like fatigue, attention, objectivity and bias. These added pressures can make our already difficult jobs even harder, but new technology has the potential to help us perform at a high level more consistently. By incorporating IA technologies in the workplace, companies can help mitigate individual employee shortcomings and enhance their professional experience.


IA for Better Business

Call centers are a perfect example of where IA can be applied for positive outcomes. Agents are understandably tired and jaded after taking/making customer calls all day long.  Their performance noticeably varies from call to call and throughout a given day. Subtle behaviors that they may identify and properly respond to early in a shift might be missed as the day progresses. IA technology can be used to identify certain phenomena, like customer excitement/distress, and guide agents on how to respond in real-time. This coaching helps agents activate their emotional intelligence and demonstrate compassion and empathy at the most appropriate time. For the agent this coaching safety net can help them to reduce their variance in performance, which helps them better achieve their goals and be more satisfied in their professional experience.


Outside of call centers, IA technologies can make even the most mundane tasks more efficient. Specifically, the already proven ability of IA to improve individual performance can be applied in a group setting. Take conference calls for example — in a few years’ time, technology will be able to automatically notify participants if they are talking about topics unrelated to the agenda or if they are on mute, and it will even put users on mute if they are interrupting. This guidance will help humans elevate established processes and make enterprise operations more seamless.


Augmentation for All Professions

The impact of IA is not limited to one profession or even just the enterprise. In the medical space, the implementation of machine learning technologies can empower doctors’ decisions. For instance, computer vision technologies with medical imaging can help clinicians to make better diagnoses. Doctors will always be a vital part of the diagnostic scenario, but IA technology can augment his or her capabilities and provide new insights that help make for a more robust treatment plan.


There will continue to be an influx of IA in the workplace over the next few years, not only because it will evolutionize employee capabilities, but also because it will greatly impact overall business results. IA in many ways is a much safer bet than AI for enterprise organizations. Instead of targeting the lofty and extremely challenging goals of artificial general intelligence (or machines that can successfully perform any intellectual task that a human being can), IA can be more narrowly focused on specific tasks that are much more achievable. As a result, integrating IA technologies into organizations is a wiser investment with a quicker ROI.


It is clear that IA already is and will continue to provide professional development and guidance in the workplace, but as the technology advances and expands, so too will the options and capabilities to elevate human life. This raises some questions: what human skills will be augmented next? And what does this mean for human interactions in all environments? The answers to these questions are still unknown but the evidence thus far is quite clear. Using machine learning driven technology that is actively designed to help people in their work and general lives already has already started to yield significant value.


The third and final part of John’s series will look at how the future of IA and how the advancing technology in this industry will impact society.