Science fiction movies typically position machines as hostile forces. Rogue artificial intelligence (AI)-powered robots seize control of critical political and business functions and dominate the world’s people until checked by a brave iconoclast.

But the reality we face is much brighter than those celluloid nightmares. Machines provide ultra-fast processing capabilities, the ability to automate complex tasks, and the tools to drive to insight. People provide leadership, creative problem solving, and the desire to train machines to do more. When they work cooperatively, machines and people can tackle ever-more complex challenges. From addressing industry issues and climate change to empowering knowledge workers to innovate faster, our future will be characterized by a closer partnership between machines and people that will benefit both.

What is augmented intelligence?

This vision for cooperative man-machine relationships is called augmented intelligence. Other common synonyms for this technology trend include enhanced intelligence, intelligent augmentation, intelligence amplification, cognitive augmentation, and decision support.
So, just what is augmented intelligence? Gartner states that “Augmented intelligence is a design pattern for a human-centered partnership model of people and artificial intelligence (AI) working together to enhance cognitive performance, including learning, decision making and new experiences.”
California Management Review describes it simply as “AI systems designed to help humans make better decisions.”

Augmented intelligence acknowledges the reality that machines have enormous capabilities but do not always need to work autonomously in order to provide value. Data scientists train data models so that computers can think, learn, and act like humans, which we call artificial intelligence. Augmented intelligence, on the other hand, seeks to enhance and extend human capabilities. Both are needed, and AI is an important precursor to reaping the benefits of augmented intelligence.

How augmented intelligence works

Augmented intelligence uses technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML), and computer vision to perform five critical functions:

Understand data – People feed large data sets into a platform or solution, and NLP and ML help make sense of it.
Interpret data – The augmented intelligence platform uses historical data and models to interpret newer data accurately.
Reason – The system then provides valuable results for users.
Learn – Business users, from data scientists to teams who interact with tools, provide feedback that is used to optimize results on an ongoing basis.
Assure – AI technologies help provide security and compliance, protecting data from unauthorized use.

The industry outlook for augmented intelligence

Company interest in augmented intelligence is growing quickly. In fact, Allied Market Research expects sales of hardware, software, and services to reach $121.57 billion in sales by 2030. Even in its early days, augmented intelligence is delivering incredible benefits. In 2019, Gartner predicted that AI augmentation would create $2.9 trillion in new business value and unleash 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity. Those gains are likely larger, due to the fast pace of digital transformation that has occurred over the past two years.

“In just about every occupation, smart tools and services are emerging that can help us do our jobs more efficiently, and in 2022 more of us will find that they are a part of our everyday working lives.” – Futurist Bernard Marr

Benefits of augmented intelligence

As a form of artificial intelligence that is designed to help, not replace, humans, augmented intelligence can help drive efficiencies for organizations — without the risk or controversy of fully automated AI approaches.

Augmented intelligence:

  • Helps reduce costs by increasing accuracy. Hence, it impacts the decisions about invoice processing to sales forecasts.
  • Helps representatives take smarter initiatives on the basis of the data. As a result, it influences employees to create better opportunities for themselves and the business.
  • Reduces repetitive and time-intensive tasks to help teams work on the strategies and plans for the business.
  • Works as a virtual assistant for data analysts and scientists. That is to say, it provides further insights and data to the analysts and scientists, for better actionable insights.
  • Provides opportunities for better, more accurate, and data-driven decisions for science, businesses, and daily life.
  • Provides capabilities for decision-making processes and handling large data sets. (Source)

Multiple trends are accelerating the development and implementation of augmented intelligence. These trends include:

  • Big data growth: Data is growing exponentially, as companies connect everything, digitize processes, and enable remote work. However, only 53 percent of enterprise data is currently being used. Only AI and augmented intelligence can help companies mine this vast data wealth, to acquire insight that guides strategic decision making.
  • Need for better knowledge management: Company heads of functions, ranging from HR and finance to technology, customer service, and regulatory compliance, want to improve knowledge management. However, only nine percent are currently ready to do so. By improving knowledge management, companies can speed decision making, reduce redundant work processes, and improve business continuity in an era of ongoing staffing issues.
  • Remote work: The hybrid workforce is here to stay, meaning that companies need to equip staff with easier access to the right data and key processes. When enriched with augmented intelligence, chatbots and virtual assistants can surface the deep data that teams need to do their work. By doing so, these tools also improve the colleague experience on a daily basis.

How to deploy augmented intelligence

Augmented intelligence solutions are predominantly deployed by enterprises. That’s because developing and training AI models to execute complex processes takes time, investment, and hard work by skilled data scientists.

However, there’s an easier way to get started: deploy a low-code or no-code solution for a specific use case.

Augmented intelligence leader Pryon offers virtual assistants that streamline workflow in key business functions and can be deployed within minutes. For example, the Agent Augmentation Assistant provides call center agents with instant access to complex data, such as solution technical specifications, enabling them to deliver better service to customers.

“By 2030, decision support/augmentation will surpass all other types of AI initiatives to account for 44% of the global AI-derived business value.”   –Gartner

Seven industry examples of augmented intelligence

Augmented intelligence is being used widely across industries. Here’s what industry companies are doing today

  1. Financial services teams analyze customer data and use insights to develop new personalized products and services.
  2. Healthcare organizations analyze patient data to optimize staffing and operations, reduce service delivery errors, improve outcomes, and streamline payment processes.
  3. Manufacturing teams explore design options to select the best option, detect production problems that harm throughput and revenues, and quickly respond to changing supply chain dynamics.
  4. Pharmaceutical teams locate experts and past research to speed drug development and predict and prevent adverse drug reactions.
  5. Retailers use data insights to align product development to changing tastes and map the online shopping experience to how consumers think and behave
  6. Security and surveillance teams improve security in public spaces, such as airports, malls, office spaces, and parking lots.
  7. Technology companies deliver solutions that enable users to interact with computers via voice, text, gesture, and vision. Data scientists can also streamline the training and retaining of AI models with better predictions.

Roadmap for moving forward

Companies have already embedded AI into critical processes. They can use this information, as well as insight into their current challenges, to determine:

  • Which processes require a combination of man-machine expertise to be most successful.
  • How humans and machines should optimally interact to accomplish a job together.
    Which use cases are the most important to address, either due to the high cost of the status quo or an unrealized opportunity for increasing value.
  • Whether to build a solution or deploy a low-code/no-code solution to speed results.
  • Evaluate which partners are best suited to help them solve their challenges.

How Pryon enables augmented intelligence

Pryon is an artificial intelligence company that is transforming enterprise knowledge into interactive experiences. Recognizing that companies want faster results to increase competitiveness, we offer a no-code platform that can be deployed in minutes. Companies can deploy the Pryon platform, point it at a knowledge base, and watch it get to work.

Pryon uses natural language processing to perform deep search and answer questions at ultra-fast speeds and with industry-leading accuracy. Companies deploy our platform to master such challenges as streamlining employee onboarding and HR processes, optimizing IT support, and improving workplace safety.