Humans and robots in collaboration

Predictions about the introduction of robots and AI into the workplace often focus on the numbers of jobs that will be lost to humans.

But is that really the case?

It may be true that machines will be able to carry out routine tasks more quickly and efficiently, but the fear that machine learning will enable artificial intelligence (AI) to make complex decisions more effectively may be less realistic.

It is important to remember that these undoubted technological innovations are generally created by humans and therefore will have some of the inbuilt limitations and biases of humans themselves.

Recent thinking suggests that in fact the development of augmentation technology will result in a combination of machine efficiency and human empathy: “AI and machine learning will enable teams of people to learn much faster than before. Individuals’ skills gaps will be augmented by technology, enabling them to succeed in more valuable, reconfigured jobs that meet real needs.”

A good example citied in an article in Wired magazine illustrates this:

“In medicine, start-ups such as PathAI use experienced pathologists to train their algorithms that then use machine-learning methods to improve the accuracy of clinical diagnoses and inform innovation in personalised medicine.”

The article argues that while current biases in thinking do create institutional biases for automation over augmentation….. if we come to grips with our institutional blockers to progress, we’ll create the conditions for augtech to flourish and deliver more overall productivity.

Then human and machine will have a truly collaborative relationship.